Darwin, Aug 27: Three US Marines were killed and several others injured after an Osprey aircraft crashed during military exercises in Australia, CNN reported on Sunday citing officials.
There were 23 Marines on board the MV-22B Osprey aircraft. Three personnel died while five others have been transferred to Royal Darwin Hospital in a serious condition, the Marine Rotational Force — Darwin said in a statement on Sunday.
The incident on Melville Island in Australia took place at 9:30 am (local time).
“The Marines aboard the aircraft were flying in support of Exercise Predators Run. Recovery efforts are ongoing,” CNN quoted the statement, adding “the cause of the incident is under investigation.”
Earlier, Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said some of the other Marines were being treated at the scene.
“We are working incredibly hard and as fast as we can to make sure we can get people to treatment,” CNN quoted Fyles as saying.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the crash as a "regrettable incident", ABC News reported.
"Our focus as a government and as the Department of Defence is very much on incident response and on making sure that every support and assistance is given at this difficult time," ABC News quoted Albanese as saying.
The PM added that the government would issue a further statement later on Sunday. "We will provide more information when appropriate," he said.
"We obviously want to make sure that any information that is provided is absolutely accurate, we're also very much focused on providing that practical assistance on the ground,” Albanese said.
"We do follow protocols at a time like this and the Australian Defence Force are cooperating with our friends in the United States Defence Force to make sure that we provide every assistance possible,” he added.
Two US Marine Osprey aircraft left Darwin and flew towards Tiwi Islands, about 80 kilometers away, on Sunday morning, Australia’s Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said.
One of the aircraft crashed on Melville Island, he added.
The incident took place during Exercise Predator’s Run 2023, said a spokesperson for the Australian Department of Defence.
Notably, numerous accidents involving Osprey military aircraft have been reported over the years, according to CNN.
In 2022, five US Marines died after their MV-22B Osprey plane crashed during a training mission near Glamis, California. The same year four US service members were killed when their Osprey crashed during NATO training exercises in Norway.
Two accidents involving Osprey military planes took place in 2017. On August 5, a MV-22B crashed off the coast of Australia, killing three US Marines.
A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed in Syria a month later on September 28, injuring two service members, CNN reported.