Sunday morning, May 17th, an MV-22 Osprey from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit experienced a “hard landing” while conducting training at the Marine Corps Training Area at Bellows Air Force Station in Hawaii. Honolulu firefighters and emergency crews are responded to the downed military aircraft that killed one person and injured several others. The aircraft had 22 people on board when it went down around 11:40 a.m. According to the military, one Marine died and 21 were transported to local hospitals for assessment and treatment. At least 12 of the 21 surviving crew have sustained some injuries. The extent of those injuries has not yet been released.
“It’s tragic and our condolences go out to the families and the loved ones of the victim. But right now we need to investigate further and see what happened,” said Marine spokesman Capt. Alex Lim.
“I can tell you that MV-22s have been a very reliable aircraft … We’ve provided aide and assistance in the Philippines. They’re very reliable tilt rotor aircrafts.”
At the time of the crash, the nearby beach was busy. Several witnesses told Hawaii News Now they saw three aircrafts doing rotations in the sky. They watched them lower toward the ground, but only two aircrafts came back up. Within seconds, they said black smoke could be seen.
The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Camp Pendleton in California has been on a seven-month deployment to the Pacific Command and Central Command areas of operation, the Marines said in a statement. The Osprey was not participating in an exercise connected to the U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium. Marine Corps Forces Pacific is hosting 23 foreign nations at the symposium,U.S. allies Japan and the Philippines were expected to attend this week’s meeting, along with U.S. partners like Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
This is a developing story and the investigation into the cause of the “hard landing” is yet to be determined.