The US Marine Corps crew members involved in the incident were Corporal Spencer Collart, aged 21, pilot Captain Eleanor LeBeau, aged 29, and Major Tobin Lewis, aged 37. The tragedy occurred when their MV-22B Osprey crashed on Melville Island, situated 80 kilometers north of Darwin. The incident took place at approximately 9:30 am local time on Sunday, and the aircraft had 23 individuals on board.
US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed their condolences to the families of the deceased. Among the survivors, all 20 individuals sustained injuries and were transported to a hospital in Darwin via rescue aircraft.
As of Tuesday, three survivors remained hospitalized, with one in critical condition and two in stable condition, as confirmed by a statement from the Marines.
An ongoing investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the crash.
Since 2012, up to 2,500 US Marines have been stationed in Darwin for six months each year as part of the US military’s strategy to pivot towards Asia in response to China’s expanding influence in the region.
The commanding officer of the Marine Rotation Force-Darwin, Col Brendan Sullivan, emphasized the focus on recovering wreckage and probing the crash’s cause. In a statement, Sullivan conveyed the Marines’ sorrow for the loss of their comrades and extended their thoughts and prayers to the families affected.
The Osprey involved is a unique hybrid aircraft that can take off and land vertically like a helicopter and transition into faster airplane-like flight by tilting its propellers forward.
Prior to this incident, there have been five fatal crashes of Marine Ospreys since 2012, resulting in a total of 16 fatalities. Notably, in 2017, three Marines lost their lives when an Osprey crashed into the Coral Sea off Australia’s northeastern coast. However, all 23 individuals on board were successfully rescued.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn