A US military aircraft reportedly crashed in the Northern Territory at 9.43 am on Sunday, August 27. A rescue operation is underway as several members onboard are injured and missing. Three patients were transported to Royal Darwin Hospital by CareFlight. One of them is in a critical condition.
The Royal Flying Doctors Service and Medical Rescue have responded to the incident, in which the V-22 Osprey carrying around 20 US marines crashed on the remote Melville Island, part of the Tiwi Islands. The location is about 80 km off the coast from Darwin. There are no reports of deaths as of now.
Authorities have rescued multiple personnel from the site of the crash. “Initial reports suggest the incident involves United States defence personnel and that Australian Defence Force members were not involved,” a Department of Defence spokesperson said, according to the Daily Mail. “At this critical early stage, our focus is on the incident response and ensuring the safety of those involved. More information will be provided when appropriate.”
The crash took place as the Predators Run exercise is underway
The crash took place at a time when the Predators Run, which is the Territory’s largest Australian-led military exercise, is underway. Of the 2,500 soldiers involved in the exercise, 500 are US marines. Soldiers from the Philippines, Indonesia and East Timor are also involved, as are Australian personnel. Following the crash, the Predators Run exercises have reportedly been halted.
A statement by NT’s Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles, issued before the crash says, “The Northern Territory shares a long and proud military history with the United States, which has grown closer in recent years with the Marine Rotational Force stationed here. The Northern Territory is strategically significant for the defence of our nation, as well as our neighbours and allies, and we take our role seriously.”