Two Helicopters Collision Kills Seven Marines Training for Afghanistan

Seven US Marines were killed yesterday night at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, when their helicopters collided in mid-air around 8:00pm. They were training for deployment to Afghanistan, according to USMC spokeswoman 1st Lt. Maureen Dooley.

The two helicopters, an AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter and a UH-1Y Huey Venom like the ones in the image, collided during "routine training operations." According to the Marines, six of the Marines were from Camp Pendleton, California, and one was from Yuma. The helicopters were part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Light Attack Helicopters based out of Camp Pendleton.

The Bell AH-1W SuperCobra is a twin engine, two-crew attack helicopter with two blades. It entered service in 1970 but it's no longer in production. The AH-1W is still the backbone of the US Marines attack helicopter fleet. The SuperCobras have been in all kinds of war scenarios, from the invasion of Grenada to the Gulf War—where they destroyed 97 tanks—as well as escorting humanitarian convoys in Somalia and Haiti. The last official crash of a SuperCobra happened on September 19, 2011. Two Marines died. The SuperCobra was also stationed in Camp Pendleton.

The Bell UH-1Y Venom—aka Super Huey aka Yankee—is a twin engine utility helicopter. Much more modern than the SuperCobra, it flew for the first time in 2001 and it's still in production. It was designed to replace the venerable UH-1N Twin Huey light utility helicopter. It can carry 10 passengers in crashworthy seats, plus two pilots. [Yuma USMC]