On Wednesday, the search for a military helicopter that had gone missing in California concluded with the discovery of the aircraft. Despite this development, the quest continues for the five service members who were on board, as confirmed by the US Marine Corps. The Marines were on a journey aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, traveling from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in southern California. The aircraft was reported overdue on Tuesday, as stated in a Facebook release by the military service. “Miramar has mobilized additional resources to support the search for the aircraft and its crew,” it added. “As of this writing, the Marine Corps is continuing to coordinate ground and aviation assets with local authorities, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.”
The last ping from the helicopter was at about 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and fire units were sent to where it was supposed to be. Still, Cal Fire Captain Mike Cornette told the San Diego Union-Tribune that they could not reach the site due to rough terrain and snow. The sheriff’s office then sent its helicopter to search the area. Still, he added that it was unable to get to the scene because of the atmospheric river storm pounding much of California with heavy rain and snow.
So far, the only evidence of the helicopter has been a discarded rotor blade surrounded by heavy brush and trees. The Marine Corps is asking for the help of residents to watch for the missing helicopter, and it’s offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who finds it.
It’s not clear how the helicopter went missing, but it was a CH-53E model equipped with a search radar and a rescue hoist, which can lift a person off the ground.
According to the Marine Corps, a team from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16 at Miramar, local authorities, and the sheriff’s office are searching for the Helicopter. The chopper was assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The search is the latest in a string of military aircraft accidents that have made headlines in recent years, and it comes just two months after an Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed off the coast of Japan, killing all eight crew members on board.