West News Wire: While participating in war drills, a US military aircraft crashed on a remote island north of Australia, killing three people and injuring 20 more. 

On Sunday, a military Osprey plane went down. There were 23 people in total on board. 

Five others were taken to Royal Darwin Hospital in a bad condition, while three have been declared deceased, a US Marines spokesman said in a statement, according to AFP. 

The Australian Defence Department acknowledged that there were no Australian soldiers on the wrecked vertical takeoff aircraft, which was transporting US “defence personnel”. 

The military of Australia said in a statement that “at this crucial early stage, our focus is on the incident response and ensuring the safety of those involved.” 

The aircraft crashed during the Predators Run drills near the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin, according to local state-run broadcaster ABC. 

The Australian broadcaster noted that the emergency services incident map for the Northern Territory said there had been an “aircraft crash” on Melville Island, some 60km north of the Australian mainland, on Sunday morning. 

In the meantime, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the crash as a “tragic” incident. He emphasized that Canberra was currently focused on providing support to those in the crash. 

“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,” he added. 

The 2023 Predators Run exercise is a joint military drill that the US and Australian military forces conduct annually in Australia’s Northern Territory. 

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This year the joint drill coordinates multiple battle groups consisting of soldiers from Australia, the Philippines, Timor-Leste and Indonesia, alongside American servicemen from the US Marine Corps. 

In the past, Malaysian troops also took part in the Predators Run exercises. 

The Australian news agency reported that more than 2,500 troops from the US, Australia, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Indonesia were currently taking part in the joint military exercises. 

The drill represents a simulation of what could be anticipated as a military response by a regional multinational force under US command to potential future threats in the South Pacific area, possibly by China.


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