DARWIN, Australia – Three United States Marines died in a crash Sunday during a training exercise off the northern coast of Australia. Twenty other Marines were injured in the crash. A former Belleville, Illinois, resident was among those killed.

According to a statement from the Marine Corps, the crash happened Aug. 27 at 9:30 a.m. local time, on Melville Island, approximately 50 miles north of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

The 23 Marines were among 2,000 Marines and sailors deployed to Darwin for six months as a rotating task force. While deployed, they conduct and support training exercises with the Australian Defense Force and other allies and partners in the region – Indonesia, the Philippines, and East Timor.

The deceased crew members were identified as Captain Eleanor “Ellie” LeBeau Cooke, 29, originally of Belleville; Corporal Spencer Collart, 21, from Arlington, Virginia; and Major Tobin Lewis, 37, of Jefferson, Colorado.

LeBeau was commissioned on Aug. 11, 2018, and had been promoted to captain on March 1. The Belleville News-Democrat reported LeBeau went to Blessed Sacrament Catholic School and Althoff Catholic High School before attending Murray State University in Kentucky.

She graduated from the school on Main Street in Belleville and went on to do such great things. Her school and her hometown won’t forget. Neither will our nation’s leaders.

“These Marines served our country with courage and pride, and my thoughts and prayers are with their families, the other troops who were injured, and with the entire USMC family,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

President Joe Biden offered his condolences on social media on Aug. 27. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated those remarks the following day on behalf of the president.

LeBeau is from a large family, still based in Belleville. They’ve declined to comment for the time being. School staff have relayed a message from Ellie’s mother, saying the family appreciates all the prayers that are coming their way.

The Marines were traveling aboard an MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, one of two involved in the exercise. An Osprey is a hybrid aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capabilities, like a helicopter, but can tilt its propellers forward during flight to travel like an airplane.

LeBeau was piloting the Osprey.

The Associated Press reported that before Sunday’s crash there had been five fatal crashes of Marine Ospreys since 2012, causing a total of 16 deaths.

The cause of Sunday’s crash remains under investigation. The 20 Marines were brought to Royal Darwin Hospital; 17 were treated for minor injuries and released. Three remain at the hospital, one in critical condition.