A military helicopter crashed into Camp Pendleton on Monday, killing both Marines on board and starting a wildfire, according to news sources.
The accident occurred near a training area by De Luz Road, east of Fallbrook around 1:05 p.m. Officials are unsure what might have caused the aviation accident at this time. The attack helicopter was a AH-1W Super Cobra and was not carrying any weapons when the crash happened. The aviation equipment belonged to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, stationed at Camp Pendleton.
Both the pilot, a 37-year-old, and copilot, a 27-year-old, were pronounced dead at the scene. The fire which was sparked by the crash covered around 120 acres, moving to the north and the east. Cal Fire and the Marines worked to put out the fire.
The commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing stopped all training flights at Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and USMC installations in Twentynine Palms and Yuma, Arizona. An “operation pause” has been ordered while the cause of the crash is investigated.
Both men had received numerous military decorations for the service prior to the crash. I offer my sympathies to the men who were lost in this crash and pray for their families.