3 US Marines dead, 5 in ‘serious condition’ following aircraft crash during military exercises in Australia

Three U.S. Marines died and five were in serious condition following an aircraft crash on Sunday during a military exercise in Australia, officials said. 

The MV-22B Osprey crash occurred while transporting troops during a “routine training exercise.” The aircraft crashed at approximately 9:30 a.m. local time on Melville Island, north of Darwin, according to the press release. 

The aircraft was carrying a total of 23 personnel. The five in “serious condition” were transported to Royal Darwin Hospital. Recovery efforts were underway, according to the statement.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, according to the statement, indicating that the situation was developing and more details would be provided. 

The incident took place in support of “Exercise Predators Run,” which is “a multilateral combined arms exercise” held in the Northern Territory between personnel from the Australian Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Malaysian Armed Forces, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were deployed to return from the remote location with the rest of the injured.

Murphy also said the aircraft that crashed was one of two that were flying from Darwin to Melville at the time. 

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said initial reports indicate only Americans were injured in the crash.

“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,” Albanese said. 

Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said one of the injured was undergoing surgery at Royal Darwin Hospital, about six hours after the crash.

“We acknowledge that this is a terrible incident,” Fyles said. “The Northern Territory government stands by to offer whatever assistance is required.”

Incident Controller Matthew Hollamby of the Northern Territory called the crash “a significant incident” and said, “the community can rest assured we are working with defence and deploying all resourcing necessary.”

“Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased and with all those currently in hospital, we wish them a fast and full recovery,” he added in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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