A missing helicopter carrying five U.S. Marines has been found by civil authorities in Southern California, the U.S. Marine Corps announced Wednesday.
The search still continues for the Marines onboard the aircraft. The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is managing search and rescue efforts near Pine Valley, California, in San Diego County.
The Marines were flying a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter on Tuesday from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California “when the aircraft was reported overdue,” the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement.
The Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the statement said.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and multiple federal, state and local agencies are assisting in locating the Marines.
Firefighters were also dispatched, but due to low visibility search efforts were pulled back, Cal Fire said.
The search comes amid a winter storm in San Diego that dumped heavy rain on the area and caused flash flood warnings. On Tuesday, parts of San Diego County were under a rare tornado warning.
The current snowy and rainy weather is hindering search efforts in the area. The San Diego Sheriff’s Team is using Jeeps to navigate the muddy terrain. Their aviation unit is on standby until safer flying conditions arise.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.