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5 Marines dead after aircraft crashes in Southern California desert, officials say

5 Marines killed in California Osprey crash
5 Marines killed in California Osprey crash 00:22

All five Marines on board an Osprey were killed when the aircraft crashed Wednesday afternoon during routine training in a remote part of California, the Marine Corps said Thursday.

The MV-22 Osprey, belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, went down in a desert area near Glamis, California, Maj. Mason Englehart confirmed to CBS News. The crash occurred at around 12:25 p.m. local time.

The five were identified Friday as Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois; Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of New Durham, New Hampshire; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming; Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, California; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico.

All were based out of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton in neighboring San Diego County and were assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor (VMM) Squadron 364. 

"It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family" said Lt. Col. John C. Miller, commanding officer of VMM-364, in a statement Friday. "This is an extremely difficult time for VMM-364 and it is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families."     

Recovery efforts for equipment from the wreckage have begun and an investigation is underway, officials said.

Earlier, Naval Air Facility El Centro said that "contrary to initial reports, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft."  

Glamis is located in rural Imperial County, about 50 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft used to move troops and supplies, according to the Marines. It can take off and land like a helicopter, but can also fly like a plane. 

Prior to Wednesday's crash, Osprey crashes had caused 46 deaths, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Most recently, four Marines were killed when a Marine Corps Osprey crashed on March 18 near a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle while participating in a NATO exercise. In 2017, three Marines were killed when their MV-22B Osprey crashed off Queensland, Australia. In 2015, one Marine was killed and 21 were injured when their MV-22 Osprey caught fire during a "hard landing" in Hawaii.
The Osprey is a joint project of Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing.
Its development was marked by deadly crashes, including an April 2000 accident in Arizona that killed 19 Marines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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