“We ask for the patience of the public as we work diligently with first responders and the unit to identify what happened this afternoon,” the Marines said in an emailed statement.
Marines have denied social media posts that the plane may be carrying nuclear material. “There were no nuclear materials on board the aircraft,” the Marines said.
Osprey aircraft, used by the US and Japanese military, take off and land vertically like helicopters, but fly like airplanes. The MV-22B – which combines the flexibility of a helicopter capable of operating in various environments, with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft – is primarily used to transport troops and equipment in support of amphibious assaults.
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But the plane’s safety record has come under scrutiny. More than 40 people have died flying on Ospreys since 1991.
In March, an Osprey crashed during NATO exercises in Norway, killing four American servicemen. In 2017, a Marine Osprey crashed in Syria, injuring two. That year, an accident in Australia also left three Marines dead. In 2014, an osprey briefly lost power while flying over the Persian Gulf, resulting in the death of a sailor. One of the deadliest accidents occurred in April 2000, when all 19 Marines aboard an Osprey were killed.
A spokesperson for Bell, which manufactures the Osprey in partnership with Boeing, said the company was awaiting details of the incident but was ready to help the Marine Corps.
Officials in Imperial County, where Glamis is located, could not immediately be reached for comment. But county officials wrote on social media that they were aware of a downed plane and were providing assistance. Glamis, located east of San Diego, is a desert area known for its sand dunes.
The Osprey was also involved in five “Class B” accidents in the past fiscal year, according to the Naval Safety Center. It defines mishaps as incidents causing between $600,000 and $2.5 million in property damage and resulting in permanent partial disability or three hospitalizations.