Desperate search and rescue mission is launched after Navy helicopter carrying five Marines goes missing en route to Air Station Miramar in San Diego

  • 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
  • Miramar Air Force Base is famous for being the home of the Top Gun show – and the movie of the same name

A desperate search is underway for a missing U.S. Navy helicopter in San Diego, California, according to authorities.

At least five Marines were aboard the plane, the Marine Corps said Wednesday.

The helicopter took off from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday evening and was en route to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar when it went missing.

Cal Fire said a call came in at 2:20 a.m. local time about the missing helicopter.

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 headed to the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, famous for being the home of the show Top Gun - and the movie of the same name

The helicopter was headed to the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, famous for being the home of the show Top Gun – and the movie of the same name

The helicopter took off from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday night

The helicopter took off from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday night

The area is currently covered in snow, making the search more difficult, officials said.

The National Weather Service in San Diego called for 6 to 10 inches of snow in the mountains above 5,000 feet and gusty winds late Wednesday. A tornado warning was issued Tuesday afternoon, but it was quickly canceled with the weather service saying the storm failed to form a twister.

It was unclear what time the helicopter took off from Nevada or why it flew back in the storm.

No debris was found during the search.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said it received a call shortly before 2 a.m. Monday and sent its own helicopter to search, but the plane was unable to reach the area amid the ‘atmospheric river’ hitting the region not.

Three people have died in the historic flooding that has hit California, destroying homes and communities across the state.

Several agencies are involved in the search along with the Marine Corps, including Border Patrol.

MCAS Miramar is home to more than 15,000 service members and their families, comprising every branch of our military services

MCAS Miramar is home to more than 15,000 service members and their families, comprising every branch of our military services

“The US Marine Corps is searching for five US 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 recent information will be released as it becomes available.’

The CH-53E Super Stallion is the heavy-lift helicopter 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 sustainment, providing sustainment and supplies, and equipping the warfighter for mission success.’

Miramar Air Force Base is famous for being the home of the Top Gun show – and the movie of the same name.

The search for the military helicopter comes after a US Air Force plane crashed off the coast of Japan in December, killing all eight crew members on board.