A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter crashed in the vicinity of El Centro, California, at approximately 2:35 p.m. Tuesday (April, 3, 2018) during a routine training mission.
The aircraft involved in the incident was assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW). According to a press release from 3rd MAW, there were four crew members onboard the aircraft. The status of all four is presumed dead pending positive identification.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation and the names of the crew members are being withheld until 24 hours pending notification of family members, according to the statement.
Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion
Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the United States military.
As the Sikorsky S-80 it was developed from the CH-53 Sea Stallion, mainly by adding a third engine, adding a seventh blade to the main rotor and canting the tail rotor 20 degrees. It was built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps.
The less common MH-53E Sea Dragon fills the United States Navy’s need for long range minesweeping or Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) missions, and perform heavy-lift duties for the Navy.
Currently about 150 CH-53E helicopters are in service with the Marines and another 28 MH-53Es are in service with the U.S Navy.
Under development is the CH-53K King Stallion, which will be equipped with new engines, new composite material rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin.