Four Marines were presumed dead after their CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed near El Centro, Calif., Tuesday afternoon during a routine training mission, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing announced.
"We're now reacting to what we now have supported as a single helicopter incident", said a face book post by the nearby Naval Air Facility El Centro. The Pentagon typically withholds identification of fallen troops until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification.
The helicopter was reportedly a CH-53E.
Wharton said the REACH crew landed safely at the scene of the crash, but they did not transport any of the four crew members aboard the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. "Right now we ask that you keep these fearless service members in your thoughts and prayers". During that incident, none of the seven US military personnel were injured nor were any residents harmed, the Asahi Shimbun, one of the five national newspapers in Japan, reported.
Two years ago, 12 Marines died when two of the helicopters collided off the coast of Oahu in Hawaii.
There were no reports of injuries to personnel on the ground or damage to the infrastructure at the airport.