US Military Aircraft Crashes Off Northern Australia, 20 Marines on Board

US Military Aircraft Crashes Off Northern Australia, 20 Marines on Board

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A rescue operation is under way after a United States military aircraft crashed off the northern coast of Australia with 20 Marines on board, in what Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called a “tragic” incident.

Several people were rescued, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), after the Osprey V-22 came down near Melville Island about 60km (37 miles) from Darwin on Sunday, Al Jazeera reported.

One person was in critical condition, two were stable and there were no reports of fatalities, it reported.

Australia’s defense ministry said the accident happened during the annual Predator Run exercises involving the militaries of Australia, the United States, East Timor, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Albanese, speaking at a previously scheduled press conference, declined to provide details about the crash or rescue efforts.

“Our focus as a government and as a department of defense is very much on incident response and on making sure that every support and assistance is given at this difficult time,” he said.

Australian personnel were not involved, Albanese said.

The US and Australia, a key ally in the Pacific, have been stepping up military cooperation in recent years in the face of an increasingly assertive China.

Four Australian soldiers were killed last month when their helicopter crashed into the sea off the coast of Queensland.

The aircraft had been taking part in Talisman Sabre, a joint military exercise involving a total of 13 countries, including the US, Australia, Japan, France and Germany, and more than 30,000 personnel.

Ospreys are tilt-rotor aircraft that combine the features of both helicopters and turboprop planes, according to the US Air Force.

It has two swiveling engines positioned on fixed wingtips that allow it to land and take off vertically, but also move at faster speeds than a conventional helicopter.

The Osprey aircraft’s safety record has repeatedly come into question after a series of fatal incidents.

In June last year, all five Marines on board an Osprey were killed when it crashed in the California desert near the Arizona border.

In March of that year, four Marines were killed when an Osprey crashed near a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle during a NATO exercise.

In 2017, three Marines were killed when an Osprey crashed after clipping the back of a transport ship while trying to land at sea off Australia’s north coast.

Source: Tasnim News