3 U.S. Marines killed in Australian aircraft crash are identified

Photos of 3 Marines killed in air crash in Australia
From left, U.S. Marine Cpl. Spencer R. Collart, Capt. Eleanor V. Beau and Maj. Tobin J. Lewis were killed in an air crash during a training exercise in Australia.
(U.S. Marines Corps via AP)

The bodies of three U.S. Marines killed in a tilt-rotor aircraft crash during a training exercise in Australia were retrieved from the crash site, while another Marine remained in critical condition, the Marine Corps said Tuesday.

Those killed were from Illinois, Virginia and Colorado.

The Marine V-22B Osprey with 23 Marines onboard crashed Sunday in tropical forest on Melville Island while taking part in a drill that includes the militaries of Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor.

All 20 survivors were injured and were flown by rescue aircraft 50 miles south to the Australian city of Darwin within hours of the crash. Three of those Marines remained in Royal Darwin Hospital on Tuesday, one in critical condition and two in stable condition, a Marines statement said.


As the U.S. expands military operations in Australia’s Darwin Port, both countries are uneasy over the fact that a Chinese company controls it.

Feb. 2, 2023

The three Marines killed were Osprey pilot Capt. Eleanor V. Beau, 29, originally of Belleville, Ill.; Cpl. Spencer R. Collart, 21, from Arlington, Va.; and Maj. Tobin J. Lewis, 37, from Jefferson, Colo. All were based in Darwin.

They had been declared dead at the crash site and their bodies were returned to Darwin late Tuesday, a statement said.

As many as 2,500 U.S. Marines have been based in Darwin for six months a year since 2012 as part of the U.S. military focus on Asia to counter China’s growing influence in the region.

U.S. Col. Brendan Sullivan, commanding officer of the Marine Rotation Force-Darwin, said the Marines’ focus was on supporting the recovery of wreckage and investigating the cause.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of three respected and beloved members of the MRF-D family,” Sullivan said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and with all involved,” Sullivan added.

All five Marines aboard were killed in the crash of an Osprey aircraft during a training operation near Glamis, Calif., on Wednesday, authorities say.

June 9, 2022

The names of the injured have not been released.

President Biden and his wife, Jill, offered their sympathies to the families of those killed and to the injured.


“Jill and I send our deepest condolences to the families of the Marines who lost their lives in this deadly crash,” the president said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We are praying for those who also suffered injuries.”

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but during flight can tilt its propellers forward and cruise much faster like an airplane.

Before Sunday, there had been five fatal crashes of Marine Ospreys since 2012, claiming 16 lives.

Three Marines were killed when an Osprey plunged into the Coral Sea off Australia’s northeast coast in 2017. The remaining 23 people on board were rescued.