5 Marines killed in Osprey crash in Southern California desert

BRAWLEY, Calif. -- Five Marines were killed in an Osprey aircraft crash that happened Wednesday afternoon in the Southern California desert, a military official said Thursday.

"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," Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering said.

The identities of the five Marines have not yet been released.

The MV-22B Osprey was carrying five Marines when it went down at 12:25 p.m. Wednesday during training in a remote area in Imperial County near the community of Glamis, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) east of San Diego.

The aircraft 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.

The MV-22B is a twin-engine tiltrotor aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter but transit as a turboprop aircraft.

Versions of the aircraft are flown by the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.

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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