February 24th, 2012|
February 24, 2012
Two Marine Corps helicopters, an AH-1W Cobra and a UH-1 Huey, crashed in midair during a routine exercise Wednesday night, killing all aboard the aircraft, reports the Washington Post.
“They’re out there working on the edge trying to exploit the maximum capabilities of the aircraft and their tactics. Just by the virtue of that, in becoming combat ready, [accidents] unfortunately are not uncommon occurrences,” said retired Marine Col. J.F. Joseph, an aviation safety consultant.
The accident occurred near the Chocolate Mountains along the California-Arizona border–a sprawling desert range favored by the U.S. military because its craggy mountains and hot, dusty conditions are similar to Afghanistan’s harsh environment.
Officials said that it could take weeks to determine what caused the accident.
Six of the Marines killed were from Pendleton in California, and one was from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona.
It was the fifth aviation accident since March involving the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, headquartered at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego.
Throughout the Navy and Marine Corps, there have only been two other aviation training accidents in the past five years involving seven or more deaths, according to the military’s Naval Safety Center.
What could have gone wrong in this tragic Marine aviation accident?