Three US Marines were killed and several others seriously injured after an Osprey plane crashed during a military exercise in Australia.
Of the 23 Marines on board the MV-22B Osprey aircraft, three died while five others were taken to Royal Darwin Hospital in serious condition, the Marine Rotational Force said in a statement on Sunday.
The incident on Melville Island occurred at 9:30 a.m. local time.
“The Marines aboard the aircraft were flying in support of the Exercise Predators Run. Recovery efforts are ongoing,” the statement said, adding, “The cause of the incident is under investigation.”
Earlier, Northern Territory Premier Natasha Fyles said some of the other Marines were being treated at the scene.
“We’re working incredibly hard and as fast as we can to make sure we can get people to treatment,” Fyles said.
“After an incident like this, it is common for an operational halt to be announced when officials ground a fleet of aircraft while conducting an accident investigation,” CNN military analyst and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton told CNN on Sunday This”. Morning.”
Leighton said it was too early to say whether the accident was due to a mechanical failure or some other issue.
Two US Navy Osprey planes left Darwin on Sunday morning and headed for the Tiwi Islands, about 80 kilometers away, said Michael Murphy, Australia’s Northern Territory Police Commissioner. One of the planes crashed on Melville Island, he added.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Secretary Richard Marles issued a joint statement expressing their condolences.
“Australian and US personnel have stood side by side for more than a century. Our alliance is built on these enduring connections and our shared values,” said Albanese and Marles.
Joint military training exercises like this are designed to improve communication and coordination between the partners, Leighton said.
“There’s a lot of coordination involved with these exercises,” he said. “Australians are great partners and these drills are invaluable for security in the Pacific.”
It is the latest fatal crash involving an Osprey aircraft. Numerous accidents involving Osprey military aircraft have been reported over the years.
In 2022, five US Marines died after their MV-22B Osprey aircraft crashed near Glamis, California during a training mission. That same year, four US soldiers were killed when their Osprey crashed during a NATO exercise in Norway.
The incident comes just a month after four Australian Army flight crew members died after an MRH-90 Taipan helicopter crashed into the sea near Hamilton Island off Australia’s east coast during an exercise as part of joint exercises with the United States.
In general, Osprey aircraft are safe to fly, but the aircraft has had a history of mechanical and operational issues since its introduction in the 1980s, Leighton said.
Previous Osprey plane crashes, according to CNN reports and US Department of Defense press releases:
July 20, 1992: An Osprey crashes in Virginia, killing seven during testing.
April 8, 2000: A crash during training in Arizona kills 19 Marines. The crash is attributed to pilot error, with investigators concluding that the pilot had attempted to land too quickly and at too steep an angle, resulting in a loss of lift.
December 11, 2000: Four Marines are killed in an Osprey crash in North Carolina. Problems with a hydraulic component and a software anomaly in the aircraft’s computer system are later blamed for the accident.
April 8, 2010: Three US soldiers and one civilian employee are killed in the US Air Force Osprey crash in southern Afghanistan.
April 11, 2012: Two US soldiers are killed when the Osprey crashes in Morocco.
June 13, 2012: An Air Force CV-22 Osprey crashes during a routine training mission north of Navarre, Fla., injuring five people.
May 17, 2015: A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashes at Bellows Training Grounds on Oahu, Hawaii, killing two.
US osprey crashes into sea off Okinawa
December 13, 2016: An MV-22B Osprey lands in shallow waters off Okinawa, Japan, injuring two.
August 5, 2017: An MV-22B Osprey crashes off the coast of Australia, leaving three Marines in its wake.
September 28, 2017: A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashes in Syria, injuring two soldiers.
March 18, 2022: Four US soldiers are killed when the MV-22 Osprey they are traveling in crashes during NATO exercises in Norway.
June 8, 2022: Five US Marines die after the crash of an MV-22 Osprey during a training mission Wednesday near Glamis, California.