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A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter takes off. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
7:24 PM – Thursday, February 8, 2024

On Thursday, it was confirmed that the five U.S. Marines who were on a chopper that vanished while traveling from Nevada to California have all died.

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After searching for hours on Wednesday, first responders discovered the downed CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter. However, the crew was not reported to be found until Thursday morning.

“It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and the “Flying Tigers” while conducting a training flight last night,” Maj. Gen. Borgschulte, Commanding General for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a statement.

“These pilots and crew members were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so. We will forever be grateful for their call to duty and selfless service,” he added. “To the families of our fallen Marines, we send our deepest condolences and commit to ensuring your support and care during this incredibly difficult time.”

The identities of fallen service personnel are not made public by the U.S. military until at least 24 hours after all next-of-kin notifications have been sent.

President Biden issued a statement upon the confirmation of the Marines’ deaths, and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed on Wednesday that the president had been updated on the incident.

“Jill and I are heartbroken at the loss of five U.S. Marines, whose aircraft crashed while flying from Nevada to California during a routine training mission. As the Department of Defense continues to assess what occurred, we extend our deepest condolences to their families, their squadron, and the U.S. Marine Corps as we grieve the loss of five of our nation’s finest warriors,” Biden said in a statement.

On Tuesday night, the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter took off from Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base and headed toward Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego.

Early on Wednesday morning, local first responders were notified in relation to the incident. The “atmospheric river” storm that was affecting the region forced the San Diego Sheriff’s Office to postpone sending a helicopter in an attempt to start the search right away.

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