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Three US Marines die when an Osprey Crashes into the Sea in a Training Exercise
A Crash of an Osprey
Deaths of combatants during peacetime cannot be condoned, even when live exercises take place. The US armed forces have suffered innumerable casualties during exercises which cannot be accepted by any fighting force. One of the latest crashes resulting in casualties happened when an Osprey, fixed wing plane- helicopter crashed into the sea off the coast of Queensland. The plane was carrying 26 military personnel but 23 were saved, unfortunately, three US marines met a watery grave. The ships in the vicinity carried out a massive search for the bodies of the missing soldiers but they could not be located. The search has now been called off and efforts will be made later to retrieve the plane from the bottom of the ocean. This is very important to get to the cause of the accident which by the look of it appears to be a case of pilot error.
The Osprey is one of the inherently safe aircraft of the US Air Force and Navy. It is a fixed wing plane with rotors like a helicopter at the extremes of its wings, which gives it the lift capability to land and take off like a helicopter.This aircraft had been brought over from Okinawa for exercises along with Australian Navy. The magnitude of the exercise can be visualized from the fact that almost 30000 marines and seamen took part in it from both the US and Australia Navy.
The Osprey, is a heavy machine and it does not have any floats and in case it crashes into the sea it can only sink and this is what happened. It was to land on the deck of the USS Reagan, the Nimitz class aircraft carrier but it failed to make it to the landing deck and ditched into the sea.
Inquiry and the Future
The Navy has now ordered an inquiry into the crash and the next of kin of the marines who died have been informed. The US military top brass would be worried as peacetime casualties cannot be accepted. One Osprey was lost during a mountain raid in Yemen on a stronghold of the Houthis. During the raid, one Seal was killed and the plane made a heavy landing and in the process, three Seals were injured. The plane had to be destroyed and 2 million dollars loss was sustained by the US armed forces. Just a week back a KC -130 plane crashed in the USA killing 16 marines on board.
The death of the three marines has been taken seriously and the President Donald Trump has been informed. The Australian defense minister has also spoken to General Mattis. All this is very well, but the think tank has to analyze why there are so many casualties during exercises. The inquiry must focus on the fact that the weather was clear and the sea calm and in such ideal conditions the Osprey ditched into the ocean. As an aviator, I find it difficult to justify loss of three marines and an aircraft during routine training exercise