6 People Are Feared Dead As Police Rush Helicopter Crash Scene

 February 11, 2024

A helicopter, with six people aboard, has crashed overnight, and authorities have been unable to locate any survivors.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department was notified about the incident near Baker, slightly after the evening had deepened into the night on Friday. The unfortunate event unfolded as the aircraft descended unexpectedly towards the earth, sparking an immediate search and response operation.

The area around Nipton on the edge of the Mojave Desert Preserve, which lies east of the 15 Freeway near Halloran Springs, became the focal point of a thorough search. Here, amidst the vast expanse of desert terrain, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the downing of the Eurocopter EC 130, a revelation that spurred a multitude of questions and concerns.

Local businesses involved in the desert tragedy

NBC's reports brought to light that the helicopter was registered to Orbic Air, a tour company rooted in the vicinity of Burbank. This detail added a local dimension to the tragedy, intertwining the community's fate with those aboard the ill-fated flight.

The shadow of sorrow was further extended with the news breaking just days after a separate incident involving a Navy helicopter. This earlier crash had carried five marines and occurred amidst the unforgiving clutches of a Southern California mountain storm, adding to a period of grief and loss for the region, Daily Mail reported.

"Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kansas; Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Arizona; Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho; Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, New Hampshire; and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Michigan." The identification of these five marines not only put names to the tragedy but also faces and stories of young lives cut short.

Remembering the brave hearts lost

Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte, the commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, expressed the collective heartache and profound sadness enveloping the community and the families of the victims, "It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and the “Flying Tigers” while conducting a training flight. These pilots and crewmembers were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so. We will forever be grateful for their call to duty and selfless service. To the families of our fallen Marines, we send our deepest condolences and commit to ensuring your support and care during this incredibly difficult time."

As the investigation unfolds, the helicopter's departure point, Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, and its intended destination, the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, have become focal points of inquiry. The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter’s last reported location was near the US-Mexico border, around 35 miles east of Miramar.

Despite the challenging conditions, including areas covered in snow, efforts to locate and recover the remains of the fallen marines are underway. The dual tragedies, occurring within days of each other, underscore the inherent risks faced by those who serve and protect, whether in military operations or civilian air tours.


Our hearts go out to the families and colleagues of those who have been tragically lost. In these moments of despair, the community's support and the relentless efforts of the first responders shine as beacons of hope and resilience.

As we await further details from the ongoing investigations, let us remember the courage and dedication of the individuals who embark on such flights, whether they are serving our country or contributing to the vibrancy of our local economies through tourism. They fly towards the horizon with dreams and duties, leaving us with memories that demand to be honored and never forgotten.

The tragic episodes that unfurled over San Bernardino County and the Southern California mountains have reminded us of the fragility of life and the bravery of those who navigate the skies. From the unfortunate crash of a helicopter carrying six individuals, still missing, to the Navy helicopter wreck that claimed five marines, our communities are united in mourning and remembrance. Amidst these sorrowful times, the strength and spirit of first responders, alongside the unwavering support of the families and communities affected, stand as testaments to human resilience and compassion.

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