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Morocco Helicopter Crash: U.S. Military Copter Reportedly Down In Southern Morocco

Posted: 04/11/2012 2:30 pm Updated: 04/12/2012 11:08 am

By Paul Schemm -- The Associated Press

RABAT, Morocco — Two U.S. Marines were killed and two severely injured in the crash of a hybrid aircraft, known as an MV-22 Osprey, in Morocco on Wednesday, officials said.

The Osprey crashed in a military training area southwest of Agadir, Morocco, after taking off from aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, said Capt. Kevin Schultz, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon in Washington.

Schultz said the Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, was participating in a U.S.-Moroccan military exercise known as "African Lion."

The 10-day exercise was set to end April 17 and involves 1,000 U.S. Marines and 200 soldiers, sailors and airmen. They were working with some 900 Moroccan soldiers.

According to the U.S. Marine website, the exercise involved "everything from combined arms fire and maneuver ranges, aerial refueling and deliveries of supplies, to command post and non-lethal weapons training."

The main unit involved in the exercise is the 14th Marines, a reserve artillery regiment based in Fort Worth, Texas, but also includes members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Camp Lejeune, North Caroline.

The goal of the exercise is to train the two countries' forces to work together.

Further information about the crash was being withheld until the next of kin of the killed and injured Marines were notified, said Rodney Ford, spokesman of the U.S. Embassy in Rabat.

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AP correspondent Lolita Baldor contributed to this report from Washington.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the aircraft in the crash. The current version reflects that the downed aircraft was an MV-22 Osprey, not a helicopter.'

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Filed by Eline Gordts  |