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3 US Navy SEALs killed in military helicopter crash in Australia

3 US Navy SEALs killed in military helicopter crash in Australia

3 US Navy SEALs killed in military helicopter crash in Australia

Three US Marines have been killed in a military plane crash on an Australian island off the coast of the mainland in the north of the country, a US military official said Sunday.

The Marine Corps official said in a statement that the plane had "a total of 23 members on board. It was confirmed that 3 of them were killed, while 5 others were transferred to the Royal Darwin Hospital (in northern Australia) in serious condition."

He stressed that the rescue operations "are still continuing," noting that an investigation has been opened into the causes of the accident.

The Australian Ministry of Defense had said earlier that a plane carrying US military personnel had an accident on Sunday morning during a training mission on Melville Island, north of Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory.

Sky News Australia reported that a V-22 Osprey helicopter crashed off the coast of Darwin with about 20 US Marines on board.

"Initial reports indicate that the incident involved personnel from the US Department of Defense and was not related to personnel from the Australian Defense Force," the ministry said in an emailed statement.

Public broadcaster ABC reported that a number of people had been rescued after a plane crash.

In the context, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in press statements that "the focus of the government and the Ministry of Defense is largely focused on facing the repercussions of the accident and making sure that all support and assistance is provided at this difficult time," adding that the accident was not related to members of the Australian forces.

This aircraft is capable of vertical take-off and landing, and has movable wings that can be directed upwards to give it the ability of the helicopter to maneuver or forward to fly horizontally as a regular plane.