The pilot and a crew member were killed Wednesday when a small Marine reconnaissance plane on a routine mission out of Camp Pendleton crashed in the desert near Palm Springs, Marine Corps officials said.
Staff Sgt. Richard Ness of El Toro Marine Corps Air Station said the crash occurred shortly after noon about 30 miles east of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County. The 600,000-acre training facility is northeast of Palm Springs.
Ness said late Wednesday that the names of the two dead Marines will not be released until their families have been notified.
The OV-10 Bronco was part of the 3rd Aircraft Wing at El Toro and stationed at Camp Pendleton. The Marines have two squadrons of OV-10s, one on the East Coast and the other at Camp Pendleton. The multipurpose, two-seater is used primarily for reconnaissance missions, including control of artillery and naval gunfire spotting. It also is used to escort helicopters and is sometimes used for low-level photography.
It has been called the ground commander’s most useful tool for battlefield reconnaissance and special missions. The two-engine, propeller-driven plane is built by Rockwell International.