A helicopter carrying more than 20 U.S. Marines crashed Sunday morning during an exercise in Australia’s Northern Territory, killing three Marines and wounding many more.

The MV-22B Osprey helicopter went down around 9:30 a.m. local time on Melville Island, off the coast of Darwin.

Military personnel from the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste were engaged in exercise drills at the time of the accident, a Fox News report noted.

“Defence can confirm an aircraft incident occurred mid-morning on 27 August on Melville Island, north of the city of Darwin, during Exercise Predator’s Run 2023,” said a spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Defence.

“Initial reports suggest the incident involves United States defence personnel and that Australian Defence Force members were not involved,” the spokesperson continued. At this critical early stage, our focus is on the incident response and ensuring the safety of those involved.”

The Marine Rotational Force in Darwin provided more details about the crash, revealing that the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey crash on Melville Island resulted in three fatalities.

Five injured Marines were transported to Royal Darwin Hospital in serious condition. Recovery efforts are still underway, and a thorough investigation into the incident has been initiated.

“The Marines aboard the aircraft were flying in support of Exercise Predators Run,” stated the MRFD X account. “Recovery efforts are ongoing. The cause of the incident is under investigation.”

Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy, during a press conference, emphasized the ongoing efforts to transport the remaining victims to the hospital. Both the Australian Defence Force and the U.S. Marines are actively involved in these efforts.

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“We are doing everything we can to return them safely to Darwin for treatment,” Murphy said.

The extent of injuries among the victims varies, with some being critically injured, as informed by Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the crash as a “tragic” incident during a press conference in Western Australia.

“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,” the prime minister said.

“We are aware of the public reporting on this, but we do not have anything we can provide at this time,” a U.S. Department of Defense representative said, according to the Fox report.

Exercise Predators Run will be temporarily halted, according to a report from Sky News.

Approximately 2,500 service members, including 500 from the U.S., 120 from the Philippines, 120 from Indonesia and 50 from Timor-Leste are involved in the exercise.

“From April to October 2023, IVO Darwin, Australia, MRF-D 23 serves as a forward postured, partnered, and combat credible MAGTF in order to facilitate rapid response to crisis and contingencies, increase combined warfighting capability, and strengthen shared alliances and partnerships,” explained a USMC website.

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