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Official: Five Marines killed in Osprey aircraft crash in Imperial County

Imperial County Plane Crash.jpeg
Military aircraft crashes in Imperial County
Military aircraft crashes in Imperial County
Posted at 2:32 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 20:23:47-04

UPDATE (June 9): Five Marines were killed in “an aviation mishap involving an MV-22B Osprey during a training mission near Glamis, CA,” according to officials at MCAS Miramar.

The Marines were part of Marine Aircraft Group 39, a unit based at Camp Pendleton. The unit is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing that is headquartered at MCAS Miramar.

Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, the commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said in a statement: "We mourn the loss of our Marines in this tragic mishap. Our hearts go out to their families and friends as they cope with this tragedy."

Aviation Safety Consultant and former Air Force Aircraft Accident Investigator Rich Martindell said Osprey aircrafts have a history of crashes. He said it comes from both the hybrid helicopter and plane design, and also the learning curve in operation.

"The Osprey had some early problems with the development both from design and mechanical issues and from operational issues, learning how to use it. They seem to have overcome that and they now are doing much better than they were but they do still have a high accident rate," said Martindell.

Martindell added that overall, 80% of aircraft crashes are caused by human error.

In April of 2000, an Osprey crashed in Arizona, killing 19 Marines. That was determined to be pilot error after landing too quickly. In November 2015, two Camp Pendleton Marines were killed when an Osprey from Miramar crashed in Hawaii because of thick dust at the landing site. In August of 2017, an Osprey crashed in Australia, killing three Marines. In March of 2022, four Marines died when an Osprey crashed in Norway.

He said the aircrafts have improved recently, though, and everyone he knows who has flown them enjoy it.

"The people that fly it like it. It’s a really versatile airplane, it’s just a matter of training to use it correctly," he said.

Martindell said the Marine Corps will now put together an investigation board. He said regulation states that the board will have 30 days to complete the investigation, but it could be 45 days, then that report will be reviewed. The review could take up to a year.

UPDATE (June 9, 9:15 a.m.): A military official told the Associated Press Thursday morning that four Marines were killed in Wednesday's aircraft crash in Imperial County.

According to AP, the official said a fifth Marine remained missing.

"The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still ongoing," AP reeported.

IMPERIAL COUNTY, Calif. (KGTV) — The U.S. Marine Corps says five Marines were on an aircraft that crashed in Imperial County near the Arizona border Wednesday afternoon.

The crash happened at 12:25 p.m. near State Route 78 and Coachella Canal Road in Glamis; which is 30 miles north of the Mexican border, and 150 miles east of San Diego.

Military officials say five marines were on an MV-22B Osprey that was based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton with Marine Aircraft Group 39. There is no word on the condition of the marines.

"We ask for the public's patience as we work diligently with first responders and the unit to identify what occurred this afternoon," 3rd MAW said in a released statement Wednesday.

"Contrary to initial social media reports, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft."

Military officials and the Imperial County sheriff's department are currently at the scene of the crash and an investigation is underway.

ABC 10News is working to gather more information regarding injuries or people on board the aircraft. It is unknown what caused the plane to go down.