A U.S. military aircraft of unknown type has crashed today near Glamis, an unincorporated community in southern California's Imperial County. The aircraft may have originated at Naval Air Facility El Centro, or NAFEC, a major naval aviation training hub situated some 35 miles to the southwest, of Glamis, but details about the incident remain limited.
"NAFEC has just received reports of a downed aircraft in the vicinity of Coachella Canal Road and the [California State Route] 78. Installation Federal Fire, and Imperial County Fire Department are responding. We have no additional details at this time," according to a post on the base's official Facebook page. "As facts become verified and available, information will be released on the base’s Facebook page. Please be patient as the installation team works through this emergency."
When reached for comment by KYMA television, an NBC affiliate in Yuma, Arizona, officials at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma said that were aware of the crash, as well, but could provide no other immediate details.
The Imperial County Sheriff's Office has confirmed to local media that a military aircraft has crashed, but has not provided any additional details so far.
There are reports circulating based on police scanner chatter indicating that the aircraft in question may have been a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor, variants of which the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force all operate. Other reports say there are multiple fatalities as a result of the crash and that the aircraft may have been carrying hazardous, possibly radioactive material at the time. So far, all of these details remain unconfirmed.
We will continue to update the story as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: 5:55 PM EST —
The Commander, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs office has now confirmed to The War Zone that the aircraft that crashed in southern California today belonged to the U.S. Marine Corps, but could provide no further details. We have reached out to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing for more information.
NAF El Centro has also issued a new statement on Facebook, further confirming that the aircraft in question was from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, but the exact type remains unknown. "Contrary to initial reports, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft. More information will be made available as we receive it," the latest update from NAFEC added.
UPDATE: 9:35 PM EST —
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing has confirmed that the aircraft that crashed today was an MV-22B Osprey assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39 at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton in California. The press release also says that the accident occurred at approximately 12:25 PM local time.
"Five Marines were onboard the aircraft, and we are awaiting confirmation on the status of all members of the crew," the press release adds. "We ask for the public's patience as we work diligently with first responders and the unit to identify what occurred this afternoon."
UPDATE: 6/9/2022 —
Sadly, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing has now confirmed that the five Marines onboard the MV-22B Osprey that crashed in southern California yesterday died in the accident.
Today's full statement from the wing is as follows:
Five Marines with Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), have been confirmed deceased following an aviation mishap involving an MV-22B Osprey during a training mission near Glamis, CA on the afternoon of June 8, 2022.
Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, commanding general of 3rd MAW issued the following 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."
As a matter of policy, identities of deceased service members are not released until 24-hours after all next-of-kin notifications have been completed.
Equipment recovery efforts have begun and an investigation is underway.
While military service is inherently dangerous, the loss of life is always difficult. 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is committed to providing support to the families, friends, and fellow service members of the fallen Marines.
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