US officials said a Marine Corps aircraft crashed on a northern Australian island on Sunday, killing three and injuring 20 during a multinational exercise.
Three were confirmed dead on Melville Island and five of the 23 Marines on board were flown in critical condition to the mainland city of Darwin for treatment after the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey crashed at around 9.30am local time local, it is said in a statement, in which it is emphasized that investigations are being carried out into the cause of the crash.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said only US troops were injured in the clash during the Predators Run exercise, which involves the armies of the United States, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor.
“As a government and as a Department of Defense we are focused on responding to the incident and ensuring that every support and assistance is provided at this difficult time,” he added.
Melville is part of the Tiwi Islands, which together with Darwin are the training area involving 2,500 troops.
About 150 US Marines are currently stationed in Darwin and up to 2,500 serve in the city each year.
The US military was also participating in a multinational military exercise in the month when four Australian soldiers died in a helicopter crash off Australia’s northeastern coast.