Helicopter collision in Yuma kills seven Marines

February 23, 2012

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two military helicopters collided over the California desert during nighttime training exercises, killing seven Marines in the latest of several similar accidents in the region.

The service members with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing were based at Camp Pendleton north of San Diego, Lt. Maureen Dooley with Miramar Air Base in California said Thursday. The crash happened around 8 p.m. Wednesday and involved an AH-1W "Cobra" that carries two crew members and a UH-1 "Huey" utility helicopter carrying the other five.

The aircraft collided in a remote portion of the Yuma Training Range Complex on the California side of the Chocolate Mountains very close to the Arizona border, Dooley said. The exact location hasn't been confirmed.

"We're still gathering a lot of details as the sun comes up," she said.

It will be at least 24 hours before the Marine Corps releases the names of those killed, Dooley said.

KJZZ's Dennis Lambert and Terry Ward discussed the news and spoke with a Marine Corps spokesperson during Morning Edition on Thursday.

Updated 2/23/12 10:09 a.m.

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