October 4, 2023

CANBERRA, Australia — A United States Marine Corps plane with 23 Marines aboard crashed on a north Australian island Sunday, killing a minimum of three and critically injuring a minimum of 5 throughout a multinational coaching train, officers stated.

Three had been confirmed useless on Melville Island and 5 had been flown in severe situation 50 miles to the mainland metropolis of Darwin for hospital remedy after the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey plane crashed round 9:30 a.m., an announcement from the Marines stated.

“Restoration efforts are ongoing,” the assertion stated, including the reason for the crash was beneath investigation.

Plane had been despatched from Darwin to retrieve extra survivors from the distant location however no additional particulars on the destiny of the opposite 15 Marines on board had been launched hours later.

A U.S. navy official reported to Australian air visitors controllers a “important fireplace within the neighborhood of the crash web site,” in line with an audio recording of the dialog broadcast by 9 Information tv.

Melville resident Shane Murphy was fishing from a seaside when the Osprey crashed and instructed Australian Broadcasting Corp. he noticed a “massive mushroom of black smoke” rise from the wreckage.

Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy stated nobody on board had escaped damage.

One of many injured was present process surgical procedure on the Royal Darwin Hospital, Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles stated round six hours after the crash.

“We acknowledge that this can be a horrible incident,” Fyles stated. “The Northern Territory authorities stands by to supply no matter help is required.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated solely Individuals had been injured within the crash throughout Train Predators Run, which entails the militaries of america, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor.

“Our ideas and deepest condolences are with the three U.S. service personnel who misplaced their lives, those that have been injured, the remainder of the crew and certainly your entire United States armed forces,” Albanese stated in an announcement.

“Australia will proceed to offer help to our pals for so long as is required,” he added.

Round 150 U.S. Marines are at present based mostly in Darwin and as much as 2,500 rotate by means of town yearly. They’re a part of a realignment of forces within the Asia-Pacific that’s broadly meant to face an more and more assertive China.

The 12-day train is scheduled to finish Sept. 7. It entails troops on land, within the sea and within the air. The train has been paused because the crash.

The Osprey is a hybrid plane that takes off and lands like a helicopter, however throughout flight can rotate its propellers ahead and cruise a lot sooner like an airplane. Variations of the plane are flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy and Air Drive.

Earlier than Sunday, there had been 5 deadly crashes of Marine Ospreys since 2012, inflicting a complete of 16 deaths.

The most recent was in June 2022, when 5 Marines died in a fiery crash in a distant a part of California east of San Diego. A crash investigation report final month discovered that the tragedy was attributable to a mechanical failure associated to a clutch.

There had been 16 comparable clutch issues with the Marine Ospreys in flight since 2012, the report discovered. However no issues have arisen since February when the Marine Corps started changing a chunk of kit on the plane, the report stated.

Melville is a part of the Tiwi Islands, which together with Darwin are the main target of the train that entails 2,500 troops. It’s Indigenous-owned land and is usually lined by tropical woodland. Its inhabitants is round 1,000 largely Indigenous folks.

The Osprey that crashed was certainly one of two that had flown from Darwin to Melville on Sunday, Murphy, the police commissioner, stated.

Darwin is a big metropolis by the requirements of Australia’s sparsely populated tropical north with a inhabitants of 150,000. However a number of casualty occasions can check its main hospital’s assets. The hospital has been placed on its highest doable emergency alert, which implies remedy of much less pressing medical circumstances could possibly be affected, Fyles stated.

The U.S. navy was additionally participating in a multinational navy train in July when 4 Australia personnel had been killed in a military MRH-90 Taipan helicopter crash off the northeast Australian coast.