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Three Killed in Helicopter Crash

July 19, 1998

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (AP) _ A helicopter crashed into a rural area outside a Marine Corps training center Saturday, killing all three people aboard and starting a small fire.

Witness told authorities that the civilian helicopter was having trouble in the air before it crashed near the Twentynine Palms Air Ground Combat Center, about 120 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

``There was some sort of in-flight separation and the helicopter began to disintegrate in air and as it came down to the ground ... it was on fire,″ San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Garland said.

The crash sparked a small blaze that burned about two acres before firefighters were able to contain it, said Bill Bonney, a dispatcher for the California Department of Forestry.

Authorities did not know where the helicopter was headed or where it came from. The victims’ identities were not immediately known.

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