5 Missing Marines Confirmed Dead In Helicopter Crash

The sad news that the bodies of five missing Marines were found was confirmed by military officials on Thursday. The crew was on a chopper that went down en route from Nevada to California in severe weather.

Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte announced the news in a statement. “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.”

He noted the pride of the group in “serving a calling greater than self.”

The identities of the five fallen service members have not been made public. Officials Wednesday morning were still notifying relatives of the group that disappeared.

However, the Associated Press reported that 23-year-old Sgt. Alec Langen of Chandler, Arizona, was among those who lost their lives.

The outlet quoted his mother as telling KNSD-TV of San Diego, “We will miss him dearly.”

President Joe Biden released a statement on the tragic loss of life. “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.”

It was Tuesday night when the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter took off from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Its destination was Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in southern California near San Diego.

The chopper was noteworthy for being designed to be capable of flying through bad weather in the dark.

Even so, former Marine Corps aircraft mechanic, civilian pilot, and attorney Timothy Loranger told the AP that caution must be exercised. The downed chopper was flown in the “most challenging environments you can think of,” but questions remain.

Loranger said that “even knowing that, it’s important for those making the decisions to decide whether the risk is worth it…you have to ask, why fly in this weather now? Was it poor judgment or some pilot error issue?”

The region where the helicopter went down was experiencing massive downpours and several inches of snow falling. Due to the “atmospheric river” storm, the area was under, first responders had to delay sending a helicopter out to search for the missing aircraft.