Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marine helicopters collide in Arizona killing seven.

(CNN) -- Two helicopters collided in midair during a training exercise in Arizona, killing seven Marines, the U.S. Marine Corps said Thursday.

Wednesday night's crash occurred during routine training operations at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Carl B. Redding, Jr., said in a statement.

The two aircraft, an AH-1W "Super Cobra" and a UH-1Y "Huey," were part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Authorities were investigating the collision, which occurred in a remote area of a training range complex, Redding said.

He said officials would not release the names of the Marines involved until their families were notified.

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma has about 4,000 active-duty Marines and sailors, and supports 80% of the Marine Corps air-to-ground aviation training. It covers five square miles in southeastern Yuma and is home to a number of units.

The air station "hosts approximately 70 aviation units, bringing an average of 600 aircraft and 14,000 personnel for ongoing training that takes place throughout the year," utilizing U.S. and NATO forces, the station's website said.

The military describes the AH-1W as "the backbone of the United States Marine Corps' attack helicopter fleet." The UH-1Y is a twin-engine, medium-size helicopter, according to the military.


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