5 Marines dead after military aircraft crash in Imperial County, California
IMPERIAL COUNTY, Calif. - Five Marines were killed after a military aircraft crashed on Wednesday afternoon in the Imperial County desert.
The crash happened sometime around 1 p.m. near Glamis, California. The crash site is near Naval Air Facility El Centro.
The identities of the service members who were killed have not been released at this time.
The MV-22B Osprey was based at Camp Pendleton with Marine Aircraft Group 39 and was part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Maj. Mason Englehart, a spokesperson for the wing, said Wednesday.
According to the base, contrary to initial dispatch reports from emergency responders, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft.
Roughly an hour before that update, the base posted an emergency alert on Facebook, writing, "#NAFEC has just received reports of a downed aircraft in the vicinity of Coachella Canal Road and the 78. Installation Federal Fire, and Imperial County Fire Department are responding."
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Prior to Wednesday’s crash, Osprey crashes had caused 46 deaths.
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.