One Marine died after an MV-22 Osprey aircraft crashed in a “hard-landing mishap” at Bellows Air Force Station in Waimanalo during a routine training exercise late Sunday morning.
Twenty-one other military personnel were sent to three Oahu hospitals with varying degrees of injury following the 11:40 a.m. incident. Twenty-one Marines and one Navy corpsman assigned to the unit were aboard the aircraft, according to the Associated Press.
The Marines are attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California.
The cause of the incident is under investigation, Marine officials said.
The “hard-landing mishap” occurred when the aircraft from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, was conducting training, said Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Forces Pacific.
Military, police, fire and Emergency Medical Service personnel are responding to the scene at Bellows station in the Waimanalo area. The injured Marines were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Residents in the Kailua, Keolu Hills and Enchanted Lake areas reported seeing plumes of thick, black smoke rising from the Bellows area. Bellows is used as a training area for Marines.
The Osprey was not participating in an exercise connected to the U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium.
Marine Corps Forces Pacific is hosting 23 foreign nations at the symposium, which started Sunday and is scheduled to wrap up Thursday in Hawaii. Senior military leaders of allied and partner nations are expected to attend.
The Marine Corps’ distinctive MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft made its first appearance in Hawaii nearly two years ago.
The 57-foot-long aircraft have twin 38-foot propellers that allow the Osprey to take off like a helicopter and fly like a conventional plane with the blades rotated forward. Ospreys can carry 24 Marines twice as fast and five times farther than previous helicopters.
Two squadrons of Ospreys, a total of 24 aircraft, are scheduled to be based at Kaneohe Bay in fiscal 2015 and 2016.