An MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft carrying five Marines assigned to a squadron based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., went down Wednesday afternoon in the Southern California desert, military officials said.
“We can confirm that an aircraft belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed near Glamis, CA. Military and civilian first responders are on site,” officials with the San Diego-based wing said in a statement this afternoon.
“Five Marines were onboard the aircraft, and we are awaiting confirmation on the status of all members of the crew,” 3rd MAW said in an updated statement. “We ask for the public’s patience as we work diligently with first responders and the unit to identify what occurred this afternoon.”
The MV-22B Osprey was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39 based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, officials said.
An Osprey usually carries a crew of three to five people, depending on the mission, but officials have yet to disclose the fate of the crew.
Local television showed Navy helicopters in the area, where local and federal search-and-rescue crews had responded. The crash happened at about 12:25 p.m., 1st Lt. Duane Kampa, a 3rd MAW spokesman, said by phone from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif. The area around Glamis, northeast of the Navy’s air facility at El Centro and northwest of Yuma, Ariz., is a sandy, desert area that’s popular with offroaders.
A regional aerial reporter, Malik Earnest, had posted on Twitter that “preliminary reports” indicated the Osprey had “nuclear material” aboard, and an online Broadcastify.com notice said an alert was issued for “radioactive material” on the aircraft.
But military officials said those reports of nuclear or radioactive materials were in error.
“Contrary to initial reports, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft. More information will be made available as we receive it,” wing officials said in the statement.
“There were some initial reporting that there was nuclear materials was on the aircraft, but that’s not true,” Kampa said.
The mishap is the second serious one involving a Marine Corps MV-22B this year. In March, an MV-22B crashed in Norway during a training exercise that killed four Marines.