US: Two Marines killed in Arizona helicopter crash
Two US Marine pilots have died in a helicopter crash near Yuma, Arizona, during a training mission, the Pentagon says.
The Marines were flying an AH-1Z Viper helicopter as part of a weapons and tactics instructor course when the incident happened late on Saturday.
According to Capt. Gabriel Adibe, a Marine Corps spokesman, the helicopter crashed on the vast Marine Corps Air Station Yuma training grounds.
No additional information was available and the cause of the crash was still under investigation, the Pentagon said Sunday.
The identities of the pilots have not been released pending notification of next of kin.
The station is situated nearly 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Yuma and the training ground, which covers an area of 1,300 square miles (3,367square kilometers), is one of the world’s largest military installations.
Several other fatal crashes involving Marine Corps aircraft near Yuma have occurred over the past years.
In a training mission in 1996, a Marine electronic-warfare plane went down on a gunnery range near the Gila Mountains, which is 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of the Yuma station.
The crash left dead all four people aboard. The crew, who was from the Marine base at Cherry Point, North Carolina, was training at Yuma.
Also in 2007, two Marine pilots, a crew chief and a Navy corpsman, died aboard a search-and-rescue helicopter which crashed near the Colorado River during a training mission.
The crew members were from a headquarters squadron of Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma.
And in a 2012 exercise, seven Marines died when an AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter and a UH-1Y Huey utility helicopter collided in midair in a remote area of the Yuma training grounds.
The crash occurred in the Chocolate Mountains on the California side of the range.