Another Military Aircraft Crashes in Southern California, the Third in a Week

Sailors prepare for an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter to take off.
Sailors prepare for an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter to take off, April 10, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zach Sleeper)

Another military aircraft has crashed in the desert around El Centro, California -- the third in the region in seven days. It comes less than 48 hours after an MV-22B Osprey crash killed five Marines in the same area.

On Thursday, a Navy MH-60S Seahawk was conducting a routine training flight from Naval Air Facility El Centro when it crashed at around 6 p.m. local time, the service said in a press release. A social media post from the facility said the crash was located about 35 miles north of Yuma, Arizona.

In an update released in the early hours of Friday, the Navy said that all four of the aircrew on board the helicopter survived, though one sailor suffered "non-life threatening injuries" and had to be taken to a nearby hospital.

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The Seahawk was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3, based at Naval Air Station North Island, California.

Although this incident appears to have ended without serious injury, the crash caps off a deadly week in southern California for the sea service.

Last Friday, Navy pilot Lt. Richard Bullock was killed when his F/A-18 Super Hornet crashed near Trona, California, about 250 miles from Naval Air Station Lemoore and 400 miles north of El Centro.

That same day, 29-year-old Electronics Technician 2nd Class John Deltoro was killed in a car crash while returning from training at Camp Billy Machen in Niland -- a town just north of El Centro. Deltoro and four other sailors were driving around 10 p.m. June 3 when their car went off the road and hit a large boulder. The four other sailors in the car were all hospitalized. All five were part of a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit, according to the Navy.

Then, on Wednesday, an MV-22B Osprey crashed in Glamis, California -- a small town between El Centro and Yuma -- killing all five Marines aboard. According to the Corps, the aircraft was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Although the series of incidents paints a grim picture, it is important to note that, given the information available, nothing seems to connect all of the mishaps.

The three aircraft crashes involved three different platforms, and the aircraft themselves were based out of three different bases. Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol has said that it is looking into whether seat belts were used in the deadly car crash, noting in a press release that Deltoro was the middle rear passenger.

The Marine Corps said that, as of Friday, it was still within the 24-hour period to notify the next of kin of the Marines who perished in Wednesday's crash, ahead of publicly identifying the victims. In addition, out of privacy concerns, the Navy typically does not release the names of mishap victims who were not killed.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

Related: 5 Marines Dead in Osprey Crash, Second Fatal Incident for the Aircraft This Year

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