Three U.S. Marines lost their lives in a tragic aircraft accident off the northern coast of Australia, according to a statement from the Marine Corps. The MV-22B Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft, crashed on Melville Island during a routine training exercise. The aircraft was transporting troops as part of Exercise Predators Run, a multinational training operation.
Five other Marines were seriously injured in the crash and were transported to the Royal Darwin Hospital, located approximately 60 miles south of the island. The aircraft was carrying a total of 23 people, all of whom were confirmed to be Marines.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation. Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, referred to the incident as “tragic” and assured that his government is focused on incident response and providing necessary support and assistance. He also stated that his government and defense department are committed to providing practical assistance on the ground.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles and Police Commissioner Michael Murphy held a joint news conference. Murphy confirmed that helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were deployed to transport the remaining injured from the remote location. The crashed Osprey was one of two that had flown from Darwin to Melville on Sunday.
The Osprey aircraft has been involved in several accidents over the years. In 2022, five U.S. Marines were killed when their MV-22B Osprey crashed during a training mission near Glamis, California. That same year, four U.S. service members died when their Osprey crashed during NATO training exercises in Norway.
This incident comes just a month after a similar tragedy. Four Australian army aircrew members died after their MRH-90 Taipan helicopter crashed off the east coast of Australia during a joint exercise with the United States.