5 Marines dead after aircraft crashes in California desert

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All five Marines on board an Osprey were killed when the aircraft crashed Wednesday afternoon in a remote part of California, the Marine Corps said Thursday.

The MV-22 Osprey, belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, went down in a desert area near Glamis, California, Maj. Mason Englehart confirmed to CBS News. The crash occurred at around 12: 25 p.m. local time.

“We mourn the loss of our Marines in this tragic mishap,” Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering said in a statement Thursday. “Our hearts go out to their families and friends as they cope with this tragedy.” 

The military said the identities of the service members will not be released until 24 hours after their next-of-kin has been notified. 

Recovery efforts for equipment from the wreckage have begun and an investigation is underway, officials said.

Earlier, Naval Air Facility El Centro said that “contrary to initial reports, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft.”  

Glamis is located in rural Imperial County, about 50 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, while the Osprey itself was based out of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Englehart said. Both are in neighboring San Diego County. 

The cause of the crash was not clear.

The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft used to move troops and supplies, according to the Marines. It can take off and land like a helicopter, but can also fly like a plane. 

Prior to Wednesday’s crash, Osprey crashes had caused 46 deaths, the Los Angeles Times reported.
 
Most recently, four Marines were killed when a Marine Corps Osprey crashed on March 18 near a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle while participating in a NATO exercise. In 2017, three Marines were killed when their MV-22B Osprey crashed off Queensland, Australia. In 2015, one Marine was killed and 21 were injured when their MV-22 Osprey caught fire during a “hard landing” in Hawaii.
 
The Osprey is a joint project of Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing.
 
Its development was marked by deadly crashes, including an April 2000 accident in Arizona that killed 19 Marines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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