A U.S. military aircraft belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed Wednesday near the Naval Air Facility El Centro in Glamis, California, close to the Arizona border, the installation confirmed on Facebook.
“We can confirm that an aircraft belonging to 3d Marine Aircraft Wing crashed near Glamis, Calif.,” the military base said Wednesday afternoon on Facebook. “Military and civilian first responders are on site.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that a federal source said four people were killed in the crash, but officials have yet to confirm that report.
According to base officials, the aircraft went down in the vicinity of Coachella Canal Road and state highway 78, and first responders from the base and Imperial County responded to the crash site.
The LA Times reported that Cpl. Sarah Marshall of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said the aircraft was an MV-22B Osprey that did not contain any nuclear materials on board, contrary to earlier reports about the crash.
According to the U.S. Navy, the MV-22B Osprey, made by Bell-Boeing, is a tiltrotor aircraft that “can operate as a helicopter or a turboprop aircraft” and that has “twice the speed, six times the range, and three times the payload of the CH-46E” aircraft.
The aircraft can carry 24 troops and a crew of two pilots and a chief and has a maximum weight limit of between 52,600 and 60,500 pounds.
The Navy entered into a multiyear purchase agreement with Bell-Boeing worth $6.4 billion for 100 units between 2013 and 2017, with 93 going to the Marines, the Navy reported in September 2020.
The El Centro base is located in the Imperial Valley in Southern California, about two hours from San Diego and an hour from Yuma, Arizona, and about 15 minutes away from the border with Mexico, according to the facility.
It is the second military aircraft crash in California in the past week.
The New York Post reported June 3 that Navy Lt. Richard Bullock, assigned to the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 based at the Naval Air Station Lemoore, was killed during a routine training flight when his F/A-18E Super Hornet went down in a “remote and unpopulated area.”
“No civilians were harmed as a result of this incident,” a statement from the Naval Air Forces Public Affairs Office to the Post said at the time.