Marine plane crashes in Imperial County

A military plane belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed Wednesday in southeastern California, just north of the Mexican border, according to Kristopher Haugh, public affairs officer at Naval Air Facility El Centro.

There was no immediate information about casualties or property damage to the ground due to the crash in Imperial County near Glamis, east of Brawley.

The Naval Air Facility said the Imperial County Fire Department and base firefighters were responding.

A county official said the plane was a V-22 Osprey, an aircraft designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft. Ospreys can hold up to 24 people, but it was unclear how many were on board. The Ospreys, which cost around $84 million each, can take off vertically like a helicopter, then convert to “airplane mode” and fly up to 300 mph.

Naval Air Facility El Centro is 15 miles north of the Mexican border in the Imperial Valley. It is a two-hour drive from San Diego and Palm Springs, and one hour from Yuma, Arizona.

The facility trains Navy pilots, as well as airmen from other branches of the military.

The plane was originally thought to have been shot down near Highway 78 and Coachella Canal Road.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, and provides the air combat element for the Marine Expeditionary Force.

Haugh said the plane was not carrying nuclear material, denying unsubstantiated reports on social media that it was.

It was the second military plane crash in Southern California in a week.

A US Navy fighter jet crashed in the Mojave Desert last week, killing the pilot.

The F/A-18E Super Hornet involved in the accident was based at Naval Air Station Lemoore. It crashed around 2:30 p.m. Friday near Trona, San Bernardino County.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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