A military helicopter that went missing near Pine Valley has been located, but the search continues for the five U.S. Marines who were on board. The Department of Defense reported that the aircraft, a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, was found empty on February 7, approximately a day after it was reported overdue while en route to Marine Corps Station Miramar.
The missing Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. They were conducting a routine training flight when they vanished. The search and rescue operation is currently in progress, with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing leading the efforts.
On the same day as the incident, San Diego County experienced severe weather conditions including heavy rain and flash flood warnings. In fact, an unusual tornado warning was issued for East County. These adverse weather conditions may have played a role in the helicopter’s disappearance.
In addition to ground and aviation assets, the Wing Operations Command Center of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing has been coordinating search and rescue efforts. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, along with several federal, state, and local agencies, are also involved in the operation.
As of now, details are limited and this remains a developing story. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Our thoughts and prayers are with the missing Marines and their families during this difficult time.
1. What type of helicopter went missing near Pine Valley?
The missing helicopter is a CH-53E Super Stallion.
2. How many Marines were on board the helicopter?
There were five U.S. Marines on board the helicopter.
3. What unit were the missing Marines assigned to?
The missing Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
4. What were the missing Marines doing when they vanished?
They were conducting a routine training flight when they disappeared.
5. What organization is leading the search and rescue operation?
The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is leading the search and rescue efforts.
6. What adverse weather conditions were experienced on the day of the incident?
San Diego County experienced heavy rain, flash flood warnings, and even a tornado warning in East County.
7. Which agencies are involved in the search and rescue operation?
In addition to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, along with several federal, state, and local agencies, are involved.
1. CH-53E Super Stallion: A heavy-lift helicopter primarily used by the United States Marine Corps. It is capable of carrying heavy payloads and personnel over long distances.
2. Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361: A squadron within the Marine Aircraft Group 16, responsible for operating heavy lift helicopters.
3. Marine Aircraft Group 16: A group within the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, consisting of multiple squadrons that provide aviation support to Marine units.
4. 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing: A unit of the United States Marine Corps tasked with providing air support to Marine ground forces.