Five U.S. service members died on Saturday when their military aircraft crashed over the eastern Mediterranean Sea during a routine training mission, military officials said Sunday.

U.S. European Command (EUCOM) said the aircraft “suffered a mishap” and crashed into the sea during a routine air refueling mission.

Search and rescue efforts began immediately, including nearby U.S. military aircraft and ships. All five service members on board the aircraft were determined to have died.

From Fox News:

An investigation into the crash is underway, though military officials have said that there are no indications of any hostile activity involved.

President Biden said in a statement that he was mourning the loss of the five service members.

“Our service members put their lives on the line for our country every day,” the statement said. “They willingly take risks to keep the American people safe and secure. And their daily bravery and selflessness is an enduring testament to what is best in our nation.”

Biden continued: “Jill and I are praying for the families and friends who have lost a precious loved one—a piece of their soul. Our entire nation shares their grief. And, during this weekend when we pause to honor our nation’s veterans, we once more affirm the sacred obligation we bear to those who volunteer to serve our nation as well as their families, caregivers, and survivors. We pray for the families of all our fallen warriors today and every day.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a statement saying the crash involved a helicopter.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III addresses the traveling media upon arrival in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 13, 2023. Along with Belgium to participate in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and the NATO Defense Ministerial at NATO Headquarters, Austin is visiting Estonia and Germany to visit local leaders and meet with U.S. and allied service members. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley)

“While we continue to gather more information about this deadly crash, it is another stark reminder that the brave men and women who defend our great nation put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our country safe,” the statement said. “They represent the best of America. We will remember their service and their sacrifice.”

The identities of the crewmembers were being withheld until 24 hours after their families are notified.

Join The Conversation. Leave a Comment.

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.