One of the five Marines confirmed dead in a plane crash has been identified as 21-year-old, according to his family and friends.
All five Marines aboard an MV-22 Osprey aircraft were killed in the process crashed in the California desert on Wednesday afternoon, the Marine Corps said on Thursday.
Nathan Carlson, of Machesney Park, Illinois, was confirmed as one of the dead in social media posts by his family and friends.
“My heart is absolutely broken… I have no words to explain how I’m feeling or how much this is tearing me up already… He had the biggest heart and was always ready to help anyone if they needed it,” the Carlsons wrote Girlfriend Emily Baxter on Facebook, according to the Daily Mail.
“He went to work yesterday and woke me up and hugged me so tight he told me he loved me and that was the last time I saw my person.”
Carlson’s childhood friend Gage McDonald also posted an emotional tribute.
“Words can’t explain how I feel,” wrote McDonald. “We practically grew up together. I’m so sorry this happened to you.’
The plane, based at Camp Pendleton, crashed about 115 miles east of San Diego in a remote part of Imperial County about 50 miles from Yuma, Arizona and 30 miles from the Mexico border.
Although early reports initially warned that nuclear material was present at the crash site, Naval Air Facility El Centro confirmed that there was no nuclear material on board.
“We mourn the loss of our Marines in this tragic accident,” Major General Bradford J. Gering, commander of the Osprey’s Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, said Thursday. “Our hearts go out to their families and friends as they navigate this tragedy.”
The Marine Corps will not release the names of the other soldiers until their families have been contacted.
“While military service is inherently dangerous, the loss of life is always difficult,” the Marine Corps said. “Third Marine Aircraft Wing is committed to supporting the families, friends and comrades of fallen Marines.”
The Osprey, a combination helicopter and tiltrotor airplane, has been widely criticized for being unsafe. Since the US military began testing the plane in 1991, there have been 12 Osprey crashes, killing a total of 46 people.
Most recently, an Osprey crash killed four US Marines in Norway during a NATO exercise in March.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/09/california-one-of-five-marines-killed-in-osprey-crash-identified-16802049/ California: One of five Marines killed in Osprey crash identified