A military helicopter carrying more than 20 U.S. Marines crashed Sunday morning during an exercise in Australia’s Northern Territory, killing three military personnel onboard and injuring the others, according to officials.
Three Marines were killed and 20 others were hurt, some critically, when the MV-22B Osprey helicopter crashed at about 9:30 a.m. local time on Melville Island off the coast of the city of Darwin as military personnel from the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste were participating in exercise drills.
A spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Defence confirmed the incident in a statement to Fox News Digital and said no Australians were involved in the crash.
“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,” the spokesperson said. “Initial reports suggest the incident involves United States defence personnel and that Australian Defence Force members were not involved. At this critical early stage, our focus is on the incident response and ensuring the safety of those involved.”
Multiple military personnel were rescued from the aircraft crash on the Tiwi Islands, located north of Darwin. The Marine Rotational Force in Darwin said in a statement that the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey crash on Melville Island killed three people while five others were transported to Royal Darwin Hospital in serious condition. Recovery efforts are ongoing, and the incident is under investigation.
Northern Territory Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said at a press conference that efforts continue to take the remaining victims to the hospital. The Australian Defence Force and the U.S. Marines were involved in the effort.
“We are doing everything we can to return them safely to Darwin for treatment,” Murphy said in Darwin.
Victims sustained a wide range of injuries, and some were critically injured, Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the crash a “tragic” incident at a previously scheduled 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.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement to Fox News Digital that it is “aware of the public reporting on this, but we do not have anything we can provide at this time.”
Predators’ Run exercises will be paused following the crash, according to Sky News. There are roughly 2,500 people involved in the exercises, including 500 from the U.S., 120 from the Philippines, 120 from Indonesia and 50 from Timor Leste.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.