JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A military helicopter crashed at a naval air station Saturday and exploded into flames, killing all four Marines on board, authorities said.
The fatal crash occurred two days after another military craft smashed into a restaurant and hotel in Indiana, killing 16 people.
The Marine H-53 Super Stallion Helicopter went down at Naval Air Station Cecil Field in Jacksonville at about 4 p.m., said Bert Byers, public information officer for the base.
All four Marines on board were believed killed, although their bodies had not been recovered, Byers said.
The helicopter and another chopper were en route from the naval air station in Key West, Fla., to their base in New River, N.C., when they stopped at Cecil Field to refuel, Byers said.
'The helicopter was one of two en route from NAS Key West to New River. They stopped at Cecil Field for fuel. Eye witnesses report smoke and/or fire came from the helicopter before it crashed and exploded,' he said.
Byers said it was not clear whether the helicopters were landing or taking off from Cecil Field when the crash occurred.
The crash did not affect the second helicopter. That craft landed safely and its five-member crew 'went to offer whatever assistance they could,' he said.
No one on the ground was injured and the fire was quickly extinguished, Byers said.
The bodies of the four Marines on board the doomed helicopter had not been recovered. Byers said authorities feared the bodies had burned with the wreckage.
'It would appear they remained in the wreckage and perished,' Byers said.
Marine Corps investigators were trying to determine the cause and find the remains of the victims. Their names were being witheld until their families could be notified.
The accident occurred as authorities investigated the crash Thursday of another military craft. The military training plane smashed into a hotel and restaurant in Evansville, Ind., killing all five Air National Guardsmen on board and another 11 people on the ground.