SAN DIEGO — A Marine Corps Osprey aircraft carrying five Marines crashed Wednesday in the Southern California desert near Glamis in Imperial County on Wednesday afternoon. All 5 Marines on board have been confirmed deceased according to a release Thursday morning from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, commanding general of 3rd MAW issued the
following statement, "We mourn the loss of our Marines in this tragic
mishap. Our hearts go out to their families and friends as they cope with
CBS 8 has learned one of the fallen Marines was 21-year-old Corporal Nathan Carlson.
Carlson's uncle, Keith McDonald, and cousin, Tanner McDonald, spoke to CBS 8 over the phone from their home in Illinois.
Corporal Carlson was from Illinois. According to relatives, he enlisted in the Marines in 2019 just days after he graduated from high school.
His cousin said Corporal Carlson always wanted to be a Marine.
"Back when [we were] camping at 8 years old, he was wearing a Marine t-shirt and a hat. He got [out] his BB gun, going after squirrels and rabbits like he was already in the Marines, doing drills like he was in basic [training]. We're talking 8 or 9 years old he was doing this. I'm sure one of his first words was 'Marine' that’s how much he was all about the Marines. He wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps," said Tanner McDonald.
According to relatives, Corporal Carlson was a combat veteran. He was a crew chief who loved aviation.
He was also a newlywed who just married his high school sweetheart six months ago.
"Very kind personality, he always wanted to bring people up," said Keith McDonald. "He was willing to help anyone."
"It could be a complete stranger walking down the street and he would help you out any way possible, just the most big-hearted, loving soul," said Tanner McDonald.
The MV-22B Osprey belonged to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing based at Camp Pendleton in North San Diego County and went down at 12:25 p.m. during training, Maj. Mason Englehart, spokesman for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing told the AP.
The crash happened near State Route 78 and Coachella Canal Road, about 115 miles east of San Diego.
Equipment recovery efforts have begun and an investigation is underway.
The Marine Corp posted a message that "contrary to social media rumors, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft" on Twitter.
Most recently, four Marines were killed when a Marine Corps Osprey crashed on March 18 near a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle while participating in a NATO exercise.
The MV-22B Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that can operate as a helicopter or a turboprop aircraft made by Bell-Boeing according to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
Its development was marked by deadly crashes, including an April 2000 accident in Arizona that killed 19 Marines.