Military Aircraft Crashes In Australia, Kills 3 Marines And Injures 20 Others

(Photo by TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Three U.S. Marines died in an aircraft crash that injured 20 others during a multinational training exercises in Australia on Sunday, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

A MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft carrying 23 Marines went down off the coast of Darwin around 9:30 a.m. local time, killing three and sending five others to the hospital in serious condition, the service said in a statement. The Marines were flying in support of a “routine training exercise,” dubbed Predators Run, involving about 2,500 military personnel from the armed forces of the U.S., Australia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste, according to media reports.

“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the three U.S. service personnel who lost their lives, those who have been injured, the rest of the crew and indeed the entire United States armed forces,” a statement from the Australian defense ministry reads. (RELATED: Marine Corps Knew About Failing Aircraft Part Years Before It Killed Five In Training Crash, Docs Show)

A U.S. military official reported “significant fire in the vicinity of the crash site,” according to The Associated Press.

“The incident took place at approximately 9:30 a.m. There were a total of 23 personnel on board. Three have been confirmed deceased while five others were transported to Royal Darwin Hospital in serious condition,” reads the statement.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said no Australian forces were harmed in the accident, the AP reported.

“The initial reports suggest that the incident involves just U.S. defense force personnel,” Albanese said, according to the AP. “Our focus as a government and as the department of defense is very much on incident response and on making sure that every support and assistance is given at this difficult time.”

Recovery efforts are ongoing and an investigation into the incident has begun, according to the Marine Corps. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft have been deployed to the remote island to recover the rest of the injured, Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said, according to the AP.

The Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey has been involved in five fatal accidents since 2012 resulting in 16 deaths, prompting a drawn-out investigation into the problem.

The latest occurred on June 8, 2022, when an Osprey crashed during a training exercise in the California desert and killed five Marines. An investigation concluded that a built-in mechanical weakness in the aircraft contributed to several accidents and close-calls, and the service claims to have identified a temporary fix.

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