- The area is currently covered in snow, making the search more difficult
- The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter was last reported north of Interstate 8 and Kitchen Road, southeast of Descanso
A desperate search is underway for a missing US Navy helicopter in San Diego, California, per authorities.
At least five Marines are on board the aircraft, the Marine Corps said on Wednesday.
Cal Fire said a call came in at 2.20am local time about the missing chopper.
The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter was last reported in the Cleveland National Forest, about 35 miles east of its destination.
A search is underway for a missing military helicopter in San Diego, California (stock)
The helicopter was heading to the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar
A Marine walks among aircraft from the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum on the flight line aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
The area is currently covered in snow, making the search more difficult, officials said.
No debris has been found during the search.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s department said it received a call shortly before 2am on Monday and sent its own helicopter to search, but the aircraft couldn’t reach the area amid the ‘atmospheric river‘ hitting the region.
Three people have died in the historic flooding that has pummeled California, trashing homes and communities across the state.
Multiple agencies are involved in the search along with the Marine Corps, including Border Patrol.
‘The U.S. Marine Corps is searching for five U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing,’ the Marine Corps said in a statement.
‘The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is coordinating search and rescue efforts with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Civil Air Patrol. The most up-to-date information will be released as it becomes available.’
The CH-53E Super Stallion is the heavy-lift chopper most commonly used by the Marines to transport troops and equipment.
According to the Navy, it is capable of ‘launching amphibious assaults, facilitating logistics and maintenance, providing sustainment and supplies, and equipping the warfighter for mission success.’
The search for the military chopper comes after a US Air Force aircraft crashed off the coast of Japan in December, killing all eight crew on board.