4 bodies recovered after Marine helicopter crashes in California

On Tuesday, April 3, 2018, a CH-53E Super Stallion similar to the one shown went down shortly after 2:30 p.m., during a training mission near El Centro, Calif., a few miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File

The bodies of four crew members killed when a Marine helicopter crashed during a training mission in Southern California have been removed from the crash site, officials said.

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Deputy Coroner Derrick Lindberg with the Imperial Valley Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that the crew members were recovered late Tuesday and taken to the coroner’s facility.

The CH-53E Super Stallion crashed Tuesday in a desert area just outside El Centro, near the U.S.-Mexico border. It was a warm, clear

The helicopter was assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing out of the Miramar air station in San Diego.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The crew members haven’t been identified.

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Tuesday’s California crash is the deadliest involving a Marine aircraft since a KC130T transport plane went down in Mississippi last July, killing 15 Marines and a sailor.

The California crash also occurred on the same day that a Marine Harrier jet crashed during takeoff from an airport in the East African nation of Djibouti. The pilot managed to eject and was being medically evaluated, military officials said.

The CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest helicopter in the U.S. military. It is used for minesweeping and transport and can carry dozens of troops and tons of cargo.

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Two years ago, 12 Marines died when two of the helicopters collided off the coast of Oahu in Hawaii. Last October, a CH-53E helicopter crashed and burned in Okinawa but nobody was injured.

In 2005, 31 people died when a CH-53E helicopter went down in Iraq during a sandstorm.

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