3 US Marines are killed and 20 injured in a plane crash in Australia during a training exercise

Canberra, Australia (AFP) – A US Marine Corps plane carrying soldiers crashed on a northern Australian island Sunday, killing three Marines and injuring 20 during a multinational exercise, officials said.

Three people have been confirmed dead on Melville Island, and five of the 23 people on board were transported in serious condition 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the mainland city of Darwin for hospital treatment following the crash of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Tilttrotor At about 9:30 am. A statement from the Marine Corps said.

“Rescue efforts are continuing,” the statement added, adding that the cause of the accident was under investigation.

A US military official told Australian air traffic controllers there was a “major fire in the vicinity of the crash site”, according to an audio recording of the conversation broadcast by Channel Nine News.

Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft had been deployed to return from the remote site with the rest of the injured.

Northern Territory Premier Natasha Files said one of the injured was undergoing surgery at the Royal Darwin Hospital, about six hours after the accident. .

She added that some of them were seriously injured and were being sorted upon their arrival at Darwin Airport.

“We acknowledge that this was a terrible accident,” Files said. “The Northern Territory Government stands ready to provide any assistance needed.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that only Americans were injured in the accident, which occurred during the “Predators Run” exercise involving the armies of the United States, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste.

Albanese said: “Initial reports indicate that the incident involved members of the US Defense Forces only.” “Our focus as a government and as a Department of Defense is very much on incident response and making sure that all support and assistance is provided at this difficult time.”

Melville is part of the Tiwi Islands which, along with Darwin, are the focus of the exercises involving 2,500 soldiers.

Meville is an Aboriginal land mostly covered by tropical forests. It has a population of about 1,000 people, most of whom are indigenous.

Murphy said the Osprey that crashed was one of two that took off from Darwin for Melville on Sunday.

About 150 US Marines are currently stationed in Darwin, and up to 2,500 move through the city each year. It is part of a realignment of power in the Asia-Pacific region aimed broadly at countering an increasingly assertive China.

The 12-day maneuvers are scheduled to end on September 7. It includes land, sea and air forces.

Darwin is a large city by the standards of Australia’s sparsely populated tropical north, with a population of 150,000. But multiple casualty events can test key hospital resources. Files said the hospital has been placed on the highest possible emergency alert, which means treatment for less urgent medical conditions may be affected.

The US military was also taking part in a multinational military exercise in July when four Australian personnel were killed by an Army MRH-90 aircraft. Taipan helicopter crash off the northeastern coast of Australia.

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