An MV-22B Osprey helicopter carrying 23 US Marines crashed on Melville Island in Northern Australia on Sunday, August 27th, killing three Marines and injuring 20 others. The remote island is located approximately 50 miles off the coast of the city of Darwin.
According to Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles, who provided an update during a press conference, five seriously injured Marines were airlifted to the Royal Darwin Hospital for treatment following a search and rescue operation. Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy stated that an emergency aircraft was deployed to evacuate the remaining injured from the crash site.
The Australian Defence Force confirmed that no Australian service members were onboard the helicopter. An investigation into the cause of the crash is currently underway. Recovery efforts at the crash site are also ongoing.
Fyles acknowledged this was a “terrible incident” and offered the assistance of the Northern Territory government. All training operations involved in Exercise Predator’s Run 2023, a multi-nation exercise including military personnel from Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste, have been paused in the aftermath of the crash.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed condolences, saying the nation’s full support would be provided. He could not disclose additional details but said the Australian Defence Force is cooperating fully with the U.S. Defense Force.
The MV-22B Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing, operated by the U.S. military. Approximately 2,500 personnel were involved in Exercise Predator’s Run 2023, including 500 American service members.
Tragedy struck the U.S. Marine Corps again less than a week later. On August 25th, Major Andrew Mettler was killed while piloting an F/A-18D Hornet during training near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California when his jet crashed.