Five US marines killed in helicopter crash as Biden ‘heartbroken’

Five US marines have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. 

The aircraft, a CH-53E Super Stallion, went down on Tuesday night during stormy weather in mountains outside San Diego.

The helicopter was discovered on Wednesday morning near the mountain community of Pine Valley, about 45 miles from the city, said the military.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and First Lady Jill Biden were “heartbroken” to learn of the marines’ deaths.

“Our service members represent the very best of our nation – and these five marines were no exception,” Mr Biden said.

The marines who were killed were not immediately named but they were assigned to the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the military said.

Major General Michael J Borgschulte, commander of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a 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.”

The helicopter had been returning to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego after training at Creech Air Force Base, northwest of Las Vegas.

A search and rescue effort got under way as a turbulent storm dumped heavy snow and record rain over California.