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7 Marines killed after helicopters collide near Arizona-California border

Seven Marines died when their helicopters collided in midair Wednesday night around the Arizona-California border. There were no survivors. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports.

Seven Marines died when their helicopters collided in midair Wednesday night around the Arizona-California border, defense officials told NBC News, after a number of recent training fatalities. There were no survivors.

The Marines, six stationed at Camp Pendleton in California and one in Yuma, Ariz., were conducting a routine training exercise at about 8 p.m. local time when their AH-1W "Cobra" and UH-1Y "Huey" helicopters collided, Marine officials said.

The crash occurred about two miles west of the Yuma Training Range Complex on federal land, Maj. Carl Redding, director of public affairs, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, wrote on his twitter account. The cause of the incident was under investigation.


 "We fly every single day for the most part and, you know, relatively mishap free so it’s ... one of those rare and unfortunate occurrences that took place last night," said Cpl. Steven Posey of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in Miramar in Southern California.

 

Two Marines were on one of the helicopters, while five were on the other, Marine Capt. Staci Reidinger told KYMA-TV. The helicopters were based out of Camp Pendleton.

The identities of the Marines killed have not been released pending formal notification of next of kin.

The incident comes after a number of training fatalities in recent years. Last September, two Marines died when their AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter went down in Camp Pendleton, according to the Marine Corps Times. And in July, a Marine sergeant was killed in the crash of a UH-1Y Huey helicopter, also at Camp Pendleton, while five others onboard were injured, the Marine Corps Times reported.

Msnbc.com's Miranda Leitsinger contributed to this story.