3 US Marines Dead in Training Crash

Several others injured when Osprey aircraft goes down in Australia
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2023 6:33 AM CDT
3 US Marines Dead in Training Crash
This image made from video shows a helicopter and ambulance involved in the rescue mission following an aircraft crash in Australia, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023.   (AuBC via AP)

Tragedy for the US Marines Sunday in Australia: Three members of the service were killed and at least five more were in serious condition after an Osprey aircraft crashed during a training mission, reports CNN. A total of 23 people were aboard the MV-22B aircraft when it went down on remote Melville Island, about 50 miles from the city of Darwin. The cause is under investigation, though the Osprey has a long history of fatal military crashes, notes the New York Times. The aircraft was taking part in a routine training mission called Exercise Predators Run, which also involves soldiers from Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and East Timor. It's part of the US push to counter China's military might in the region.

The Osprey was one of two aircraft that set out from Darwin en route to Melville Island on Sunday morning. The AP describes Melville as owned by Indigenous people and covered mostly in tropical woodland. The crash occurred about 9:30am local time. Last year, nine Marines were killed in two separate Osprey crashes, and CNN has a list of several fatal crashes that have been logged since 1992. The Osprey, with two rotor blades above wings, is sort of a combination between a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft, and the Times notes that pilots must be experts in both types of flying.

"It's such a unique design," Peter Dean of the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney tells the newspaper. "The first thing everyone will do is ask questions about the platform itself; and then the next question is, what were the flying conditions like? Is there anything out of the ordinary?" Those questions have yet to be answered. (Read more Marines stories.)

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