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US Marines killed in Australian Osprey crash are identified

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SAN DIEGO — Three U.S. Marines killed in an Osprey plane crash in Australia over the weekend were identified Monday.

It was about the heading. Spencer R. Collart, 21, of Arlington, Virginia; Captain Eleanor V. LeBeau, 29, of Belleville, Illinois; and Maj. Tobin J. Lewis, 37, of Jefferson, Colorado, their unit, Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, said in a statement.

Collart was the Osprey squadron’s crew chief, LeBeau was its pilot and Lewis was its general manager, the force said. All, based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Oahu, were decorated Marines who had received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the statement said.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of three respected and beloved members of the MRF-D family,” Col. Brendan Sullivan, commander of Navy Rotational Force-Darwin, said in the statement.

An MV-22B Osprey prepares to land on the USS America off Brisbane, Australia on June 20.Darren England/AAP Image via AP

The force said three other Marines injured in Sunday’s crash on Melville Island remain under the care of the Royal Darwin Hospital in Darwin, about 60 miles south of the crash site.

One of the three was described as being in critical condition; the other two were stabilized and recovering, Darwin’s unit said. Seventeen Marines injured in the crash have been released from Darwin Hospital.

The Osprey, with 23 Marines aboard, crashed “while transporting troops during a routine training exercise,” the Marine Corps said in a statement Sunday.

The 2,000-strong Darwin Force, led and primarily recruited from Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, is in its 12th year of participating in exercises in Australia and raising awareness of the American presence in a region also influenced by China.

His Osprey Squadron was participating in Exercise Predators Run, a 12-day joint training mission that includes the United States, Australia, the Philippines, East Timor and Indonesia.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the accident a “tragic incident” over the weekend.

After an Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crashed last year killing five Marines in the California desert, the Navy placed all aircraft under its command, including undeployed Marine Corps aircraft, in ” temporary safety break.

Ospreys have suffered several accidents that have killed more than 50 people, according to the publication Task & Purpose. They can take off and land almost vertically, like helicopters, while they can fly along horizontal lines, like airplanes.

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