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Three Die in North Carolina Marine Helicopter Crash

A Marine Corps helicopter on a training exercise crashed into the New River...

A Marine Corps helicopter on a training exercise crashed into the New River near Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base, killing three Marines and injuring two others.

The pilot and co-pilot of the CH-46 Sea Knight, which went down at about 11 p.m. Monday, were taken to nearby hospitals. They were listed in stable condition.

The helicopter was participating in a training exercise for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit when it crashed, said 2nd Lt. Paul C. Cabellon, a base spokesman.

The tail of the helicopter could be seen about 500 yards offshore, Cabellon said. The rest of the wreckage was submerged.

The bodies of one of the dead Marines was found. Emergency workers were still trying to retrieve the other bodies early Tuesday, military officials said.

The Marine Corps declined to release the names of the crew pending notification of their relatives.

The CH-46 is used mainly for troop transport.

The same model helicopter crashed on a training flight 15 miles off the San Diego shore on Dec. 9, 1999, killing seven Marines from Miramar Naval Air Station.

A CH-46 helicopter was also involved in a May 1996 collision of two Marine helicopters at Camp Lejeune. Fourteen people died in the accident.

The Marines' aging fleet of CH-46s was scheduled to be replaced by the VS-22 Osprey, a helicopter-airplane hybrid. But the changeover has been delayed because the Osprey has encountered numerous problems highlighted by two crashes last year that killed 23 Marines.