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4 dead in 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crash, few months after death from blade attack

A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter steadies itself before landing to begin fast-rope training for U.S. Marines. (USMC)

All four crew members of a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter were killed when it crashed during a routine training mission Tuesday in California.

A Marine Corps statement said the helicopter was flying near El Centro, California when the crash occurred at approximately 2:35 p.m. local time.

“The status of all four is presumed dead pending positive identification,” the statement said.

The names of the servicemembers will be withheld pending next-of-kin notification.

The Marine 3rd Airlift Wing suffered a loss in February, when a Camp Pendleton-based sailor, assigned to the wing, was critically injured by a spinning attack helicopter blade.

A UH-1Y Venom spinning tail rotor struck the sailor who eventually died after spending several days in critical condition.

Tuesday’s crash was the second Marine Corps crash to happen that day.

An AV-8B Harrier II crashed while flying training missions in Africa but the pilot was able to eject. He was as transported to a US Military facility, where he is reported to be in “stable condition.”

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is the major west coast aviation unit of the United States Marine Corps. It is headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California and provides the aviation combat element for I Marine Expeditionary Force.

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