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US Navy helicopter crashes in California

An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to the “Merlins” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman)
June 10, 2022

A U.S. Navy helicopter crashed near El Centro, Calif. on Thursday during a routine training flight.

Naval Air Forces for the U.S. Pacific Fleet (AIRPAC) confirmed the crash of an MH-60S Seahawk in a Thursday press statement. All four crew members on board survived the incident, though one of the crew members had to be taken to a local hospital after sustaining non-life-threatening injuries.

The exact cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

The helicopter crew is assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3, based at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. The helicopter had taken off from Naval Air Facility El Centro prior to the crash.

While all four crew members survived the crash, the Navy helicopter is the third U.S. military aircraft to crash in the span of a week. Thursday’s incident came less than 48 hours after all five crew members on board a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey were killed in a crash during a training exercise near Glamis, Calif. about 40 miles away from El Centro.

Those Marines were assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. The Osprey was from a squadron based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, in San Diego, Calif., while the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar about 40 miles south.

A Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet crashed last Friday around Trona, Calif., killing the pilot. The jet was based at Naval Air Station Lemoore and crashed at around 2:30 pm PDT. It’s not yet clear what caused the crash.

There have been several other military aircraft crashes in recent months.

The MV-22 Osprey crash on Wednesday came about two and a half months after another deadly Marine Osprey crash in Norway, that killed all four crew members on board in March.

In January, another Navy MH-60S Seahawk crashed into trees as it made an emergency landing in an area northwest of Norfolk, Virginia. Fortunately only one of the three crew members sustained minor injuries from the incident.

Another MH-60S Seahawk crashed in August of last year while attempting to land on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). All five crew members on board were killed. According to the latest details from an investigation of the crash, the crash was “caused by an in-flight failure of a damper hose, resulting in total loss of the main rotor damping which led to severe vibrations upon touchdown.” The helicopter lost control and its main rotor struck the flight deck of the carrier and the helicopter then fell over the side of the ship.