Corporal Spencer R. Collart, Captain Eleanor V. LeBeau, and Major Tobin J. Lewis were among 23 Marines on board the Osprey aircraft that crashed on Melville Island
Three U.S. Marines who lost their lives in an aircraft crash in Australia on Sunday have officially been identified.
Corporal Spencer R. Collart, 21, Captain Eleanor V. LeBeau, 29, and Major Tobin J. Lewis, 37, were named as the victims in a press release distributed by the United States Marine Corps on Monday.
A further three marines are still hospitalized in Royal Darwin Hospital, with one in a critical state and two in a stable condition, per the release. The other 17 Marines traveling on the aircraft at the time of the incident were discharged after receiving treatment for minor injuries, the release added.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of three respected and beloved members of the MRF-D family,” Col. Brendan Sullivan, commanding officer of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin said, per the release. “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,” Sullivan added. “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Australian Defence Force, Northern Territory Police, Northern Territory Government, CareFlight Air and Mobile Services, NT Health, National Critical Care and Trauma Response Center, and Tiwi Island Government, who have come together to assist us in this difficult time.”
At the time the MV-22B Osprey was taking part in a "routine training exercise" known as the Exercise Predators Run, which involves troops from the U.S., the Philippines, East Timor, Australia and Indonesia and will last until Sept. 7, according to NBC News.
"Recovery efforts are ongoing," the Marines added in its post on Monday. "The cause of the incident is under investigation. Further details will be provided as the situation develops."
"Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the three U.S. service personnel who lost their lives, those who have been injured, the rest of the crew and indeed the entire United States armed forces," Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote in a statement Sunday, noting that the Australian Defense Force was offering support for "as long as it is required."
There's "a lot of coordination that goes along with these exercises,” CNN analyst Col. Cedric Leighton told the network about the land, sea and air exercise, noting that it’s too soon to determine the cause of the crash.
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“The Australians are great partners, and those exercises are invaluable in providing for security in the Pacific region," he added.
An "an aviation mishap” caused an MV-22B Osprey aircraft crash last year, which claimed the lives of five Marines. According to CNN, there have been at least 12 other incidents involving Osprey aircraft since 1992, when a crash in Virginia killed seven people.
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