2nd military aircraft crashes in Imperial County in 2 days
A Navy helicopter crashed in Imperial County on Thursday evening, less than 48 hours after a Marine Corps aircraft went down in the same county, killing all five Marines on board, according to authorities.
An Imperial County Fire Department representative told The Times that firefighters were called at 5:43 p.m. to Highway 78 near Palo Verde for a report of a military aircraft down.
The representative declined to proportion his name when asked.
Military personnel were also responding to the scene, he said.
“I can confirm that a U.S. Navy helicopter crashed today on a U.S. Navy training range near El Centro, Calif. according to our initial reports, all four of the air crew on board survived the crash,” according to a statement by Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a Naval Air Forces public affairs officer.
“One of the aircrew has suffered a non-life threatening injury and has been transported to a local hospital.”
On Wednesday, an MV-22B Osprey crashed during a training mission near Glamis, officials with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said Thursday.
All five Marines aboard the Osprey tiltrotor aircraft were killed.
The aircraft was based at Marine Corps Air stop Camp Pendleton with Marine Aircraft Group 39 and crashed around 12:25 p.m. near Coachella Canal Road and Highway 78.
Contrary to reports on social media and early radio calls from the scene by emergency responders, there were no nuclear materials onboard, Cpl. Sarah Marshall, a spokesperson for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said Wednesday.
Military personnel are recovering debris from the crash, and an investigation into the cause is underway.
The Osprey can take off and land like a helicopter and fly like an airplane by pivoting its rotors.
Its proponents argued that the Osprey would revolutionize warfare because of its tiltrotor capabilities, but it became embroiled in scandal during testing after a series of fatal crashes.
Spurred by a series of crashes that have killed at the minimum six servicemembers and injured at the minimum four since March, Congress may tighten requirements on the military’s aviation safety reporting, according to Defense One, a military news site.
The news site said that the recent string of crashes was similar to several that prompted congressional action in 2018. Following the Osprey crash this week, the House Armed sets Committee’s Subcommittee on Readiness started discussing requiring the Deputy Defense Secretary to report yearly on findings from a joint aviation safety council the Pentagon has not however produced, Defense One reported.
Times staff writer Nathan Solis contributed to this report.
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