1 dead, 5 hurt in Calif military helicopter crash

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — A Marine is dead and five others are hospitalized after a Marine Corps helicopter crashed during a training flight at the sprawling coastal base of Camp Pendleton.

The helicopter belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Camp Pendleton went down around noon Wednesday in the northern section of the San Diego County base, said 1st Lt. Maureen Dooley, a spokeswoman at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The section is a remote mountainous area where the Marine Corps conducts takeoffs and landings.

Officials are withholding the Marine’s name until family are notified.

Dooley said the five other Marines were being treated at nearby hospitals, but didn’t release details about their injuries or say whether any were life-threatening.

At least three of the injured were taken to nearby Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in San Diego, about 30 miles south of the base, hospital spokeswoman Lisa Ohmstede said. She didn’t know what other hospitals took in patients from the crash.

Wednesday was sunny and hot in the county so it was unclear if weather played a role. Dooley said the cause of the crash was under investigation.

The UH-1Y helicopter, known as a Yankee Huey is a modernized variant of the decades-old UH-1 design by Bell Helicopter. Among survivability features on the UH-1Y are “crashworthy” crew seats and fuel tanks, according to a description of the aircraft on the Bell Helicopter website. The UH-1Y is described as a medium helicopter with two engines and one four-bladed main rotor.

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Associated Press writers Julie Watson in San Diego and Sue Manning in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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