Three Marines killed, 20 injured in Osprey crash
The squadron’s executive officer, a pilot, and a crew chief died in the crash in Australia.
Three Marines are dead and three others are still in the hospital after an MV-22B Osprey crash Sunday on an island off the northern coast of Australia.
Two pilots—Maj. Tobin Lewis, 37, executive officer of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363, and Capt. Eleanor LeBeau, 29—and crew chief Cpl. Spencer Collart, 21, were killed in the crash, the Marine Corps said Monday.
Twenty-three Marines were aboard the Osprey when it crashed Sunday morning on Melville Island near Darwin, Australia, while participating in Exercise Predators Run. One of the three Marines in the hospital is in critical condition, while the other two are stable, Marine Rotational Force-Darwin said in their statement. The other 17 Marines were also taken to the hospital and released after they were treated for minor injuries.
The 23 Marines are assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 (Reinforced)—VMM-363—based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment (Reinforced), from Camp Pendleton, California. The units are part of the current makeup of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of three respected and beloved members of the MRF-D family,” Col. Brendan Sullivan, the commanding officer of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, said in the statement. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and with all involved. At present, we remain focused on required support to the ongoing recovery and investigative efforts."
The crash was the second deadly Marine Corps aviation incident in less than a week. An F/A-18D Hornet crashed during a training flight on Aug. 24 near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California, killing the pilot, Maj. Andrew Mettler.
Sunday’s crash was the sixth deadly Marine Osprey crash since 2012, according to the Associated Press.
Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro on Sunday said his “heart aches for the loss of our Marines, who volunteered to serve our nation. We keep their families in our prayers, and we are eternally grateful for their service.”
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services’ Seapower subcommittee Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Monday he is urging “the Marine Corps to conduct a thorough investigation into how this happened, and I’m committed to working with the Department of Defense and Marine Corps to ensure this tragedy doesn’t occur again.”
Marine Rotational Force-Darwin started in 2012 and includes 2,000 Marines and sailors deployed to Darwin, Australia, for six-month periods, the statement said.