A military aircraft crashed in Imperial County near the Arizona border Wednesday afternoon, killing four people aboard, according to preliminary reports.
A helicopter crashed somewhere near the Glamis Dunes, around Coachella Canal Road and Highway 78, according to dispatch reports from emergency responders and Imperial County spokesperson Gil Rebollar.
“I can confirm that the county is assisting the military with a downed helicopter” near the dunes, Rebollar said when reached by phone.
Local firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and other emergency responders are assisting the naval air base in El Centro. Rebollar could not say whether the military aircraft originated from the base.
Radio calls from the scene taken by emergency responders indicated there may have been nuclear materials onboard the aircraft, but Naval Air Facility El Centro spokesperson Kristopher Haugh could not confirm that information.
Haugh confirmed that a military vehicle crashed in the remote area, but also could not say whether there were any fatalities.
A federal source who spoke on condition of anonymity said there had been five people aboard the helicopter and four were dead.
Rescue teams in the area were searching for a fifth person who was aboard the craft.
A military V-22 Osprey was deployed to assist in the search.
This a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.