One dead, 21 hospitalized after Marine aircraft crashes in Hawaii

(WTNH)– One has been confirmed dead and 21 hospitalized following a Marine aircraft crash at Bellows Air Force Station in Waimanalo.

It happened at around 11 a.m. Twenty-two people were on the aircraft at the time of the crash.

According to the U.S. Marine Corps, “An MV-22 Osprey from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit experienced a hard-landing mishap while conducting training aboard Marine Corps Training Area – Bellows.” The unit is stationed out of Camp Pendleton, California.

The identities of the people on board have not yet been released.

Three Ospreys flew through the area and was headed toward a landing zone, but only two of the aircraft made it back out.

The terrain where it happened is flat because it’s generally used as a landing zone.

MV-22 Hard Landing Mishap aboard Marine Corps Training Area – Bellows (official statement)

USS ESSEX – One Marine was killed when an MV-22 Osprey from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit experience a hard-landing mishap while conducting training aboard Marine Corps Training Area – Bellows at approximately 11:40 a.m., Hawaii time.

Twenty-two Marines were aboard at the time, and all other 21 have been transported to local hospitals for assessment and treatment.

The Marines were conducting routine sustainment training at the time. The 15th MEU departed San Diego May 10 on a seven-month deployment to the Pacific Command and Central Command areas of operation.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

KHON was told that they were doing what’s known as sustainment training, a landing exercise typically done with that type of aircraft.

“Typically when MV22s hold sustainment training they don’t just take off on their own so other aircraft other MV22s are doing the same thing,” said Capt. Alex Lim with USMC Forces Pacific. “I don’t know, and I don’t think we know for sure, what happened if it was, what the issues were.”

Lim also mentioned that the Osprey is a reliable aircraft, recently used in rescue missions in Nepal and the Philippines.

Witnessing the horror of the crash

Several people in and around the Bellows area today saw the crash.

The area the hard landing took place is closed to the public, but many witnesses could see the tragic incident from afar.

They described what appeared to be a large dust storm, followed by heavy smoke and flames. Many of them didn’t know if this was a training exercise or a real disaster.

Ken Quinata saw the incident as it happened. “We were just taking a look, because you don’t normally see aircraft landing that close and then all of sudden, it just went down quick and burst into flames,” he said.

One witness didn’t hear any sort of loud boom, but noticed something was wrong as smoke began to rise from the ground.

“No explosion,” said Desiree Faumai. “There was no noise. We didn’t hear any sound, we just saw the smoke and that’s what caught our attention. So there was still a little bit of a dust storm so there was still dust coming up in this area and the smoke coming up in that area.”

“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,” Quinata added. “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.”

Viewer KT Tu’umalo took video of several aircraft flying over the area right before the Osprey crashed.

“We saw three aircraft drop and only two came up, and shortly after we saw a cloud of smoke,” said Faumui. “The smoke was initially a grey color, like it was more grey in color, and within a few minutes, we saw it turn into a dark black.”

Witnesses also told us that emergency responders arrived to the scene, one after another.

The survivors of the crash

The 21 survivors were taken to various hospitals around Oahu, including Queen’s Medical Center, Castle Medical Center and Tripler Army Medical Center.

While we know there were a total of 22 people on the Osprey, KHON was told by Captain Brian Block of the Marine Corps that 21 onboard were taken to area hospitals, either to have their conditions assessed or to be actually treated for injuries.

For the patients who were transported to Tripler, a city bus was first called in to help transport patients from the crash site at Bellows, but the bus driver was later told he was not needed, and instead, a city Handi-Van was called in to ferry the patients to Tripler.

KHON was told a total of 11 were taken to the military hospital in Moanalua for treatment. At this time, KHON has no information on their conditions.

KHON was also told since the Handi-Van is outfitted with seats and can also take up to 4 wheelchairs, it is not outfitted to take in stretchers for those who may be seriously injured.

Sources say five patients were transported to Castle Medical Center, but one has since been transported to another hospital. No word on those patients’ conditions as well.

military helicopter crash 4 One dead, 21 hospitalized after Marine aircraft crashes in Hawaii

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