Five people aboard a US military plane were killed after it crashed in the Southern California desert, local media reported. It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.
The crash happened around 12:25 p.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from 1st Lt. Duane Kampa, spokesman for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Naval Air Facility El Centro said in a Facebook post that the plane was from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, an aviation unit headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, about 115 miles away ( 185 kilometers) west of the crash site in Imperial County. The post said the plane crashed near the community of Glamis.
There have been reports that the military aircraft was carrying nuclear materials on board, but a spokesperson for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which operated the plane, denied these allegations.
Local firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and other emergency responders are assisting Naval Air Facility El Centro with the accident.
Imperial County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Gilbert Rebollar said information about the crash was received around noon Wednesday, AP news agency reports.
Versions of the aircraft, an MV-22B Osprey, are flown by the Marines, Navy and Air Force to transport troops and equipment. It has a higher top speed and longer range than a helicopter, but is able to hover and land the same.
According to the Los Angeles Times newspaper, this is not the first time that the plane has been involved in such a fatal accident.
In March, four North Carolina-based Marines were killed in another Osprey crash during a NATO exercise in Norway.
The newspaper, citing crash records, says the MV-22B Osprey has claimed 46 lives since the military began testing the unique aircraft. Since the Pentagon made it operational in 2007, there have been eight Osprey crashes.
(With agency contributions)
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Post expires at 3:25am on Sunday June 19th, 2022