A military aircraft crashed in California on June 8. The five people believed to be on board are presumed dead. The crash happened in the Imperial County area of California, near Route 78.
The plane belonged to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. It crashed at 12:25 p.m. local time. The plane went down near Glamis, 30 miles north of the Mexican border and 150 miles east of San Diego, The Daily Mail reported.
While several media outlets originally reported that the plane may have been carrying nuclear material, the U.S. military is denying this, The Mirror reported.
“We can confirm that an aircraft belonging to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed near Glamis, CA,” Marine Corps Air Station Yuma (MCAS Yuma) said in a statement.
“Military and civilian first responders are on site. Contrary to social media rumors, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft,” MCAS Yuma continued. The military did not confirm how many passengers were aboard the aircraft.
Four people are believed to be dead, with a fifth passenger missing and also presumed dead. Rescue teams are searching for the missing passenger.
“NAFEC has just received reports of a downed aircraft in the vicinity of Coachella Canal Road and the 78,” according to a post on Naval Air Facility El Centro’s Facebook page.
News 11 Yuma footage showed military personnel and first responders together in the desert and smoke was visible on the horizon.
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It’s been reported that the crash involved a V-22 Osprey aircraft. The MV-22B Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft built by Boeing. It can carry 24 Marine combat troops, according to Military.com.
It is a joint service, multi-role combat aircraft that has the vertical performance of a helicopter as well as the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft, said Boeing.
“With its rotors in a vertical position, it can take off, land, and hover like a helicopter,” Boeing explained to The Daily Mail.
Once airborne, the MV-22B Osprey, which has been in use since 2007, can convert to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.
“This combination results in global reach capabilities that allow the V-22 to fill an operational niche, unlike any other aircraft,” said Boeing.
The U.S. military first tested the aircraft in 1989, but the program was initially scrubbed due to several crashes during tests that resulted in 30 deaths, The Daily Mail reported. The Navy and Marine Corps made adjustments to the craft, and it was first deployed in Iraq.
Photo: A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey, carrying Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, approaches the Pentagon, June 14, 2013, as he arrives for a meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)