A winter storm is hampering the search for five Marines who were aboard a U.S. Marine helicopter when it crashed in a mountainous region east of San Diego late Tuesday.
The CH-53E Super Stallion, a heavy-lift helicopter, was flying from Nevada to California when contact was lost at about 11:30 p.m. local time, Marine Corps officials said.
Searchers found the helicopter in Pine Valley, California, a mountainous area near Cleveland National Forest about 35 miles east of downtown San Diego, early Wednesday.
The aircraft was traveling from Creech Air Force Base in Clark County, Nevada, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego on a routine training flight when it was reported overdue.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection received word of the missing helicopter at about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday and responded to its last known location in Pine Valley, according to Cal Fire San Diego Capt. Mike Cornette, USA TODAY reported.
Workers were searching the area on the ground and with drones, Cornette said. Crews hoped to bring in additional aircraft, but visibility was near zero because of snowfall.
The National Weather Service posted on X, formerly Twitter, that more rain and mountain snow were expected to hit Southern California late Wednesday after a brief respite from a record-setting storm system that pummeled the region.
An end to the storm is in sight, “but not until Thursday or Friday,” the weather service said.