A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft crashed Sunday morning in Hawaii, killing one Marine and injuring 21 others.
Observers at a nearby beach caught sight of three aircraft engaged in aerial rotations. But when the three descended, one had a hard landing, resulting in a thick cloud of black smoke, AP reports. The crash occurred at Bellows Air Force Station in Waimanalo. All 21 of the injured Marines were rushed to the hospital for treatment. No identities have been released yet.
“The flames were coming up at least 20 feet high and a lot of people were rushing in trying to help as much as possible,” Ken Quinata, who witnessed the crash, told KHON2. “There were some medically trained people trying to scale over the barbed wire and stuff to help the people, pulling people out, and there was some people performing CPR on a couple of the people on board. They were pulling some guys out. You could actually see, it looked like they had some burns.”
Parts of the aircraft are spread over a 50-60 feet area. Firefighters and other emergency crews quickly arrived on the scene to put out the fires and clean up the debris.
The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, but is currently in Hawaii for training.
“It’s tragic and our condolences go out to the families and the loved ones of the victim,” Marine spokesman Capt. Alex Lim told HawaiiNewsNow. “But right now we need to investigate further and see what happened. 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.”
Despite Lim’s assurances, the Osprey program was almost ended at one point because of stringent mechanical failures and a couple of crashes that killed 23 Marines in 2000.
It is unclear why the aircraft went down.