Marines helicopter crashes; 2 killed

May 6, 2009 8:07:56 AM PDT
A Marine Corps helicopter crashed in a remote area of Southern California, killing the only two people who were on board, authorities said Wednesday. The Super Cobra helicopter from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed shortly before midnight Tuesday, according to a statement from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, outside San Diego.

A Defense Department accident investigation team was on the scene in the Cleveland National Forest in eastern San Diego County, said Capt. Daryll Pina of the California Department of Forestry.

The crash started a one- to two-acre fire, Pina said.

Authorities received 911 calls reporting a wildfire with explosions, and during the long drive to the remote scene fire commanders received a report from the air station that a helicopter with live ordnance was missing, Pina said.

When they arrived about 45 minutes later, fire crews waited for the fire to burn itself out before approaching the scene for fear of explosions, Pina said.

He said the crash was in an old fire break with very little vegetation in the forest north of Interstate 8.

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