SAN DIEGO – Three U.S. Marines who died in the crash of an Osprey plane over Australia on Saturday were identified by Monday.
Spencer R. Collart, 21, of Arlington, Virginia; Capt. Spencer R. Collart (21), of Arlington, Virginia, Capt. Eleanor V. LeBeau of Belleville, Illinois, and Maj. Tobin Lewis of Jefferson, Colorado were among those who died. Their unit, Marine Rotational Force Darwin, released a statement.
The force stated that Collart was the Osprey Squadron’s chief of crew, LeBeau its pilot and Lewis its executive officer. The Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Oahu is where all three Marines are based. They were awarded the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
In a statement, Col. Brendan Sullivan (commanding officer, Marine Rotational Force Darwin) said: “We are deeply sorry for the loss of these three beloved and respected members of our MRF-D Family.”
Three other Marines who were injured in the crash at Melville Island on Sunday are still being treated at the Royal Darwin Hospital, located in Darwin about 60 miles south of where the crash occurred.
Darwin unit reported that one of the three had been described as in a critical condition, while the other two were stabilised and recovering. The Darwin hospital has released 17 Marines who were injured in the crash.
Marine Corps statement: “The Osprey with 23 Marines aboard crashed while transporting troops in the course of a routine exercise.”
The 2,000-member Darwin Force, which is led by and largely drawn from Camp Pendleton, in San Diego County and engages in Australia exercises for the 12th consecutive year, demonstrating U.S. presence in a region that has also been influenced heavily by China.
The Osprey Squadron participated in Exercise Predators Run. This 12-day joint training mission included the U.S.A., Australia. East Timor, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the crash “tragic” over the weekend.
After a tiltrotor Osprey aircraft crash last year that killed five Marines, the Navy placed all aircraft under their command, including non deployed Marine Corps aircraft, in a temporary “safety stop.”
According to Task and Purpose, Ospreys were involved in multiple crashes that resulted in the deaths of more than 50 people. The Osprey can land and take off almost vertically like a helicopter, but can also fly horizontally like an airplane.