US military aircraft crashes near Darwin

US aircraft crash

SYDNEY: A US aircraft participating in joint exercises with Australian and other forces has crashed on an island near Darwin.

The Australian Defence Force confirmed an aircraft “incident” had occurred this morning on Melville Island during Exercise Predators Run.

A spokesperson for the Defence Force said Australian personnel were not involved.

“Initial reports suggest the incident involves United States defence personnel and that Australian Defence Force members were not involved,” they said.

“At this critical early stage, our focus is on the incident response and ensuring the safety of those involved.”

The incident involves a US Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft which can land and take off both vertically or on a short runway.

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The aircraft is in Australia for Exercise Predators Run, which began on August 21 and is slated to continue until September 8.

Up to 500 US personnel are participating in the exercise as well as troops from Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

The incident occurred a month after four Australian personnel were killed when their MRH-90 Taipan helicopter crashed off the Whitsundays in Queensland. They were taking part in the Talisman Sabre exercises.

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