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Missing helicopter carrying 5 Marines found in California; search and rescue underway

The Marines were flying from Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, on Tuesday “when the aircraft was reported overdue."
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Civil authorities have found a missing helicopter carrying five Marines in Southern California, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday. 

The search still continues for the Marines on the aircraft. The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is managing search-and-rescue efforts near Pine Valley, in San Diego County.

The Marines were flying a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter Tuesday from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, "when the aircraft was reported overdue," the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement.

The Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the statement said.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department and multiple federal, state and local agencies are assisting in searching for the Marines.

Firefighters were also dispatched, but search efforts were pulled back because of low visibility, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

A winter storm in San Diego has dumped heavy rain on the area and caused flash flood warnings. On Tuesday, parts of San Diego County were under a rare tornado warning.

The snowy and rainy weather is hindering search efforts. The San Diego sheriff’s team is using Jeeps to navigate the muddy terrain. Its aviation unit is on standby until safer flying conditions arise.