US Marine Tragically Killed in Training Accident

May 30, 2019 Updated: May 30, 2019

A decorated 21-year-old U.S. Marine has died after a military training accident at an Australian defence facility in the Northern Territory.

U.S. Marine Hans Sandoval-Pereyra died after a weekend training accident at an ADF facility east of Darwin, the territory’s capital city.

Lance Corporal Hans Sandoval-Pereyra died on Wednesday after succumbing to injuries received during a tactical vehicle accident on the weekend, the U.S. Marines said.

He was involved in routine training at Mount Bundey Training Area, east of Darwin on Saturday when the accident occurred and was taken by helicopter to Royal Darwin Hospital, where he died.

Australian soldier Jason Challis, 25, died after he was shot during a training exercise at the same facility in 2017.

Workplace charges have recently been laid against the Defence Department following a coronial inquest into Challis’ death.

One other Marine received minor injuries from this week’s accident and was released from the hospital.

The cause of the accident is being investigated.

“We are saddened by the loss of Lance Corporal Sandoval-Pereyra,” said Colonel Russ Boyce, Commanding Officer for Marine Rotational Force–Darwin.

“He was a beloved member of our community and our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

“We are extremely grateful to our Australian partners for their valiant efforts to save this young Marine’s life.”

Lance Corporal Sandoval-Pereyra from Fairfax, Virginia, was an Expeditionary Airfield Systems Technician assigned to the Aviation Combat Element.

He had received decorations including the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

About 2,500 U.S. Marines are stationed in Darwin as part of an annual rotation program that started in 2012.

The accident follows the death of three U.S. Marines in 2017 when their aircraft crashed into the sea near Rockhampton during a scheduled training exercise.

Lance Corporal Sandoval-Pereyra is the third Marine to die in six weeks, following two other vehicle related deaths in training in the United States.

By Greg Roberts