Aircraft crash leaves at least 3 U.S. Marines dead

U.S. Marines' MV-22 Osprey takes part in the joint exercise "Iron Fist 23" with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force at Hijyudai Maneuver Area in Oita-Prefecture, Japan on February 18, 2023. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI

Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A military tiltrotor aircraft carrying U.S. Marines crashed on Australia's Melville Island on Sunday morning, killing at least three of them.

The Police, Fire and Emergency Services agency in Australia's Northern Territory confirmed in a statement that three Marines died and five others were injured. Those who were injured were transported to Royal Darwin Hospital in various conditions.

"This is a significant incident and the community can rest assured we are working with defense and deploying all resourcing necessary," Incident Controller Matthew Hollamby said.

"Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased and with all those currently in hospital, we wish them a fast and full recovery."

Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, an air-ground task force of the U.S. Marine Corps, confirmed the incident in a statement.

The Marines Corps said an MV-22B Osprey aircraft crashed around 9:30 a.m. local time with 23 people onboard while conducting a "routine training exercise." Those transported to the hospital are in serious condition, the Marines Corps said.

"The Marines aboard the aircraft were flying in support of Exercise Predators Run. Recovery efforts are ongoing. The cause of the incident is under investigation," the statement reads.

Anthony Albanese, the prime minister of Australia, expressed condolences for the American lives lost and said no Australians were involved in the incident.

"Australian and U.S. personnel have stood shoulder to shoulder for more than a century. Our alliance is built upon those enduring links and our shared values," Albanese said.

"This incident is a reminder of the significance of the service undertaken by our personnel and those of our partner nations."