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East County News Service

Update February 9, 2024:  The Marine Corps has identified those who died in the helicopter crash as Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, Capt. Jack Casey, Sgt. Alec Langen, Capt. Benjamin Moulton, and Capt. Miguel Nava, all in their 20s, with the 3rdMarine Aircraft Wing.

February 8, 2024 (Pine Valley) – The U.S. Marine Corps has confirmed that all five Marines aboard yesterday’s crash of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in Pine Valley during Tuesday night’s storm have died.

The Marines were based at Miramar and were flying from Creech Air Base in Nevada went their helicopter went missing around 11:30 p.m. A search with multiple agencies ensued including Cal Fire, San Diego County Sheriff and other agencies,  but was halted temporarily due to heavy snow. The helicopter was located at 9:08 a.m. Wednesday and the Marines were confirmed dead today.

Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Miramar issued this statement:

“It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and the Flying Tigers while conducting a training flight last night. These pilots and crewmembers were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so.”

Efforts to recover the remains are underway. The identities of the victims are being withheld pending notification of families.

President Joe Biden issued this statement:  “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,” Biden said in a statement. “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.”

The President added, “I am deeply grateful to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary-Civil Air Patrol, and other federal, state, and local agencies for their professionalism and dedication in supporting search and recovery efforts.”

An investigation into the cause of the crash continues.  It is unclear why the Marine helicopter was flying during the severe storm.


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