Of the 23 marines on board the MV-22B Osprey aircraft, three 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 a.m. local time.
“The Marines aboard the aircraft were flying in support of Exercise Predators Run. Recovery efforts are ongoing,” the statement read, 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,” Fyles said.
Two US Marine Osprey aircraft left Darwin and flew towards Tiwi Islands, about 80 km 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.
Numerous accidents involving Osprey military aircraft have been reported over the years.
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.
A history of crashes
Previous crashes of Osprey aircraft, according to CNN reporting and US Defense Department press releases:
July 20, 1992: Seven people are killed during testing when an Osprey crashes in Virginia.
April 8, 2000: A crash during training in Arizona kills 19 Marines. The crash is blamed on pilot error, with investigators concluding the pilot tried to land too fast and at too steep an angle, causing a loss of lift.
December 11, 2000: Four Marines are killed when an Osprey crashes in North Carolina. The accident is later blamed on problems with a hydraulic part and a software anomaly in the aircraft’s computer system.
April 8, 2010: US Air Force Osprey crashes in southern Afghanistan, killing three US service members and one civilian employee.
April 11, 2012: Two US personnel are killed in an Osprey crash in Morocco.
June 13, 2012: An Air Force CV-22 Osprey crashes during a routine training mission north of Navarre, Florida, injuring five.
May 17, 2015: A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashes at Bellows training ground on Oahu, Hawaii, leaving two Marines dead
December 13, 2016: An MV-22B Osprey lands in shallow waters off Okinawa, Japan, injuring two.
August 5, 2017: An MV-22B Osprey crashes off the coast of Australia, leaving three Marines dead
September 28, 2017: A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashes in Syria, injuring two service members.
March 18, 2022: Four US service members are killed when the MV-22 Osprey they are traveling in crashes during NATO training exercises in Norway.
June 8, 2022: Five US Marines die after an MV-22 Osprey crashes during a training mission Wednesday near Glamis, California