Canberra: Three US Marines were killed and 20 injured in an aircraft crash during a training exercise off Australia’s north coast.
According to the Marine Rotational Force (MRF) Darwin, three personnel have died and five more are in hospital in a serious condition after the MV-22 Osprey crashed with 23 personnel on board at approximately 9:30 a.m. local time on Sunday (2330 GMT on Saturday).
“Three have been confirmed deceased while five others were transported to Royal Darwin Hospital in serious condition,” it said in a statement.
“Recovery efforts are ongoing. The cause of the incident is under investigation. Further details will be provided as the situation develops.”
The aircraft went down on Melville Island approximately 60 km north of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory (NT), in the Timor Sea during a routine training exercise.
Earlier, NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy told reporters at a press conference that 23 Marines were injured in the crash.
“Those injured are 23 US Marine Corps soldiers and we are doing everything we can to return them safely to Darwin for treatment,” he said.
“Additional police and defence personnel have been deployed to Melville Island to support operations, triage injured people and return them to Darwin and also maintain the crash scene while investigations continue.”
Australia’s Department of Defence had previously confirmed that all personnel on board the aircraft were Americans.