A US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed in Syria on Friday with roughly two dozen Marines on board.  Only two Marines suffered minor injuries in the crash, but the aircraft has been characterized as “a total loss.”

According to officials, it was a “miracle” that more of the Osprey’s passengers weren’t injured in the crash, which was reportedly not caused by enemy contact.  A mechanical failure is currently suspected, with an investigation ongoing.

“The two were evaluated for non-life threatening injuries and quickly transported to a medical treatment facility, where they were seen and released,” read a Friday release from U.S. Central Command.

“The other passengers and crew on the aircraft were uninjured, and no other casualties were reported on the ground.”

This is the second Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey to go down in a hard landing caused by a mechanical failure in the past two months, and the third to go down this year.  On August 5th, an Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit went down off the coast of Australia after departing the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), killing three Marines.

On January 29th, American special operations forces who were engaged in a firefight with Al Qaeda fighters in Yemen called for medical evacuation for one KIA and three injured American soldiers.  The Marine Corps MV-22 tasked with the evacuation proceeded to crash with the soldiers on board, injuring two more.  The Osprey was then intentionally destroyed at the scene by an Air Force F-16 once it was determined that it could not be salvaged from the site.

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The MV-22 Osprey, and U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey, have a safety track record that exceeds the requirements for continued operation, but concerns about its reliability have come to the forefront of conversation for Marine Corps officials and even allied nations.  After the August incident, Japanese officials requested that the United States stop flying the Osprey in the area until the incident had been thoroughly investigated.

We will continue to ask the United States [to stop flying Ospreys] until we receive a solid explanation” about the accident,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said at the time.   “Japan will urge the United States to give maximum consideration to safety and minimize the impact on local residents.”

That incident, as well as the crash of a Marine Corps C-130 in Mississippi, prompted a branch wide 24-hour halt to all flight operations for what General Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, called a “safety reset.”

The United States currently has a small military footprint inside Syria, comprised primarily of special operations forces serving as advisors and Marine Corps artillery support.

 

Image courtesy of the Department of Defense