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7 Marines Killed in Midair Helicopter Crash in Calif. Desert

AP: "Nighttime training exercises" CNN: Cause under investigation

Seven Marines were killed Wednesday night when two military helicopters collided in midair during routine training in a California desert mountain area, the Associated Press reported.

The crash happened in a remote portion of the Yuma Training Range Complex near the Arizona-California border. The Marines were conducting night training exercises when their UH-1Y "Huey" and AH-1W "Cobra" aircraft collided in midair around 8 p.m. local time. There were no survivors.

Lt. Maureen Dooley with the Miramar Air Base in California told the AP the Marines were based at Camp Pendleton near San Diego.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The names of those killed have not been released pending notification of their families.

According to CNN, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma has about 4,000 active-duty Marines and sailors and is responsible for 80 percent of Marine Corps air-to-ground aviation training.

Initial reports differed over the exact location of the crash and even in which state it took place; according to the AP, the U.S. Marine Corps confirmed the collision happened on the California side of the Chocolate Mountains in a desert area similar to ground conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dooley said the Marines were training for Afghanistan, local ABC affiliate KNXV-TV reported.

This is a breaking news story. Updates will be added as they become available.

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