Three US Marines die in plane crash in Australia during drills

SYDNEY, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Three US Marines died in a plane crash off the coast of northern Australia on Sunday while transporting troops during a routine military exercise, officials said.

Five others were “transported to Royal Darwin Hospital in serious condition,” Marine Rotational Force – Darwin said in a press release.

They were among 23 Marines aboard the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft when it crashed, the statement said. The cause of the crash is currently being investigated.

The crash happened in the remote Tiwi Islands around 9.30am (0130 GMT), the statement said.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the incident “tragic” and said the Osprey was supporting Exercise Predators Run 2023. No Australian personnel were involved in the crash, he said.

“Our focus as Government and as a Ministry of Defense is very much on responding to incidents and making sure all support and assistance is provided at this difficult time,” the Prime Minister said at a previously scheduled press conference in Western Australia.

About 2,500 soldiers from Australia, the USA, the Philippines, Indonesia and East Timor took part in the exercises.

The US and Australia, a key Pacific ally, have intensified military cooperation in recent years in the face of an increasingly confident China.

“Australian and US personnel have stood side by side for more than a century,” Albanese and Defense Secretary Richard Marles said in a statement.

“This incident is a reminder of the importance of the service rendered by our personnel and that of our partner countries.”

Four Australian soldiers were killed during major bilateral exercises last month when their helicopter crashed into the sea off the Queensland coast.

reporting from Sam McKeith in Sydney and Shivani Tanna in Bengaluru; Edited by William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Jennifer Adams

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