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7 Camp Pendleton Marines Killed in Helicopter Collision Over Arizona

Horror at the Yuma, Arizona training range: Two helicopters reportedly collided around 8 p.m. last night during a training exercise, killing seven marines from SoCal.

Though reports originally indicated that the marines were based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, located just east of La Jolla, the Associated Press now confirms with Miramar officials that the downed marines are from Camp Pendleton, the coastal base a few miles north.

The two sets of marines were reportedly flying helicopter models AH-1W Cobra and a UH-1Y Huey when they collided midair.

A "Huey" helicopter at the Yuma base.
A "Huey" helicopter at the Yuma base.

In July 2010, two marines from Camp Pendleton were killed in a Cobra crash over Afghanistan. And exactly one year later, another marine was killed in a Huey crash at the Camp Pendleton base itself.

But the Yuma training range is especially busy, reports CNN:

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma has about 4,000 active-duty Marines and sailors, and supports 80% of the Marine Corps air-to-ground aviation training. It covers five square miles in southeastern Yuma and is home to a number of units.

The air station "hosts approximately 70 aviation units, bringing an average of 600 aircraft and 14,000 personnel for ongoing training that takes place throughout the year," utilizing U.S. and NATO forces, the station's website said.

We'll update with the victims' identities as soon as their families have been notified.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]