Five U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) members aboard a helicopter that went missing on a flight from Nevada to California were confirmed dead Thursday morning.
A search-and-rescue operation was launched for the CH-53E Super Stallion after it was “reported overdue” on Wednesday, as Breitbart News reported.
The heavy-lift cargo helicopter was on a training flight from a Nevada Air Force base to an air station near San Diego.
The crew was flying in an historic storm that dumped snow and rain across California, conditions that also hampered search and rescue efforts.
It was later found in the snow-covered California mountains – about 45 miles from its destination.
“It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and the ‘Flying Tigers,’” Maj Gen Michael J Borgschulte, commander of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a statement on Thursday.
The names of the deceased are yet to be released.
The five were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, Third Marine Aircraft Wing, USMC told CBS News.