(CTN News) – Three members of the US Marine Corps lost their lives, and a number of their comrades sustained severe injuries following the crash of an Osprey aircraft during military maneuvers in Australia.
According to an announcement by the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin on Sunday, among the 23 Marines onboard the MV-22B Osprey, three tragically perished, while an additional five individuals were promptly transported to the Royal Darwin Hospital in critical condition.
The incident occurred at 9:30 a.m. local time on Melville Island.
The statement disclosed, “The Marines who were on board the aircraft were engaged in supporting Exercise Predators Run. Ongoing efforts are in progress for recovery,” further noting, “An inquiry into the cause of the incident is presently underway.”
Previously, Natasha Fyles, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, revealed that certain other Marines were receiving medical care at the crash site. She stated, “We are putting in maximum effort to swiftly ensure that individuals receive the necessary medical attention.”
In the aftermath of such an event, it is customary to initiate an operational stand-down, a protocol wherein officials ground the fleet of aircraft to facilitate a comprehensive accident investigation.
CNN’s military analyst and retired US Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton commented on “CNN This Morning” on Sunday, conveying that it is premature to ascertain whether the mishap resulted from a mechanical malfunction or another underlying factor.
Tragic Osprey Aircraft Crash Mars Collaborative Military Exercises
On Sunday morning, two Osprey aircraft from the US Marine Corps took off from Darwin en route to the Tiwi Islands, situated approximately 80 kilometers away, as revealed by Michael Murphy, the Commissioner of Australia’s Northern Territory Police. Tragically, one of the aircraft crashed on Melville Island, he further informed.
In a joint statement, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Deputy Prime Minister, along with Minister of Defense Richard Marles, conveyed their heartfelt condolences.
The statement expressed, “For over a century, Australian and US personnel have stood united. Our Alliance is rooted in these enduring connections and our shared principles.”
According to Leighton, the purpose of these collaborative military training exercises is to refine communication and synchronization between participating entities.
He commented, “These exercises entail a significant level of coordination. The Australians are exceptional collaborators, and these drills play an invaluable role in upholding security in the Pacific region.”
This incident marks the most recent tragic crash involving an Osprey aircraft, adding to a series of accidents that have occurred over the years.
In 2022, five US Marines lost their lives when their MV-22B Osprey aircraft crashed during a training mission near Glamis, California. Similarly, during NATO training exercises in Norway that same year, four US service members perished in a separate Osprey crash.
These events transpired just a month following the demise of four Australian army aircrew members, who tragically died in a helicopter crash.
The MRH-90 Taipan helicopter plunged into the sea near Hamilton Island off the eastern coast of Australia during an exercise associated with joint drills alongside the United States.
While generally considered safe for flight, Osprey aircraft have faced a history of mechanical and operational challenges since their inception in the 1980s, as noted by Leighton.
History of Previous Osprey Aircraft Crashes: CNN Reporting and US Defense Department Releases
A Catalog of Past Crashes Previous incidents involving Osprey aircraft, as documented by CNN reporting and US Defense Department 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.
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