Three U.S. Marines died and five are in critical condition following a military aircraft crash off the coast of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.
The V-22 Osprey went down while performing drills with military personnel from other nations on Melville Island about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Darwin on Sunday, the U.S. Marine Rotational Force said in a statement. The cause of the incident is under investigation.
“There were a total of 23 personnel on board,” the force said in the statement. “Three have been confirmed deceased while five others were transported to Royal Darwin Hospital in a serious condition.”
An Australian Defence spokesperson earlier confirmed that an aircraft incident occurred mid-morning during Exercise Predator’s Run 2023, without providing details. The drills involved military personnel from the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste, according to a report from Sky News Australia.
The crash marks the second in Australia during training drills in less than two months. In late July, an Australian army helicopter crashed off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia, killing four Australian service members.
“This is a difficult incident, we are responding fully and our priority is on providing every assistance possible,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters on Sunday.
Prior incidents with the V-22 Osprey, an aircraft developed by Bell Helicopter and Boeing Helicopters that can tilt its rotors, included a crash in 2000 that killed 19 Marines.
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