1 killed, 21 injured in Osprey crash at Bellows Air Force Station
KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu firefighters and emergency crews responded on Sunday to a downed military aircraft at Bellows Air Force Station in Windward Oahu that killed one person and injured several others.
According to the military, 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. 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.
Military officials on Monday released the identity of the Marine that died as 24-year-old Lance Cpl. Joshua E. Barron from Spokane, Washington.
On Tuesday morning, one Marine remained in critical condition, and two others were still hospitalized, but stable, officials said. The remaining Marines were treated and released.
It is unknown what caused the aircraft to go down. One witness told Hawaii News Now the Osprey's pilot may have hit the landing gear on a nearby fence line in the heavy dust cloud that was created during the landing.
"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. Officials said five aircrafts were initially involved, but 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 Marines involved are from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego. They arrived in Hawaii on May 10 for a seven-month deployment, the military says. The approximately 4,500 Marines and sailors in the unit resumed their training on Monday.
A spokeswoman with the I Marine Expeditionary Force says the Marine Forces Pacific will now be the overarching command to lead the investigation into the Osprey crash in Hawaii. Officials say a data recorder on board the aircraft will be a part of the investigation, though the Osprey does not maintain a voice recorder.
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