Rescue Efforts Suspended for 3 Marines Missing After Crash Off Australian Coast

Monday, 07 Aug, 2017

A Marine Corps statement says they have begun a recovery effort in coordination with Australian defense forces.

Twenty three people were salvaged within an hour after a "mishap" during a joint exercise off Queensland. The US Marine Corps said the incident was under investigation but gave no additional information.

Three Marines missing after a USA military aircraft crashed off the Queensland coast are unlikely to be found alive, with the search now becoming a recovery operation. First developed during the 1980s, it got off to a rocky start over safety concerns and a series of high-profile crashes.

It's been nearly 12 hours since an MV-22 Osprey carrying 26 people entered the water off the coast of Australia, and after hours looking for them, the search has been officially suspended.

The hybrid aircraft "was conducting regularly scheduled operations" off the east coast of Australia, and carrying 26 members of the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), when it entered the water.

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said Saturday's crash took place near Shoalwater Bay off Queensland state, The Associated Press reported.

Operations have shifted to recovery efforts, the release stated.

The Osprey aircraft, which can take off and land like helicopters but cruise like fixed-wing aeroplanes, have a chequered safety record.

U.S. statement also said that small boats along with aircrafts have been roped in for the rescue service. The U.S. military grounded its Osprey fleet in Japan last December after one of them crash-landed into the sea, injuring all five crew members on board.

In its deadliest incident, 19 Marines were killed in April 2000 while trying to land during a training exercise in Arizona. In January, three USA soldiers were injured in a "hard landing" of an Osprey in Yemen.

The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group was in Australia to participate in joint training maneuvers involving more than 33,000 USA and Australian military personnel, which ended two weeks ago.

One of the exercises is scheduled to be held in Hokkaido from August 10 to 28 with the participation of six U.S. Ospreys stationed at the Futenma air station. The Talisman Sabre exercise, a biennial event between the two nations, involved more than 30,000 troops and 200 aircraft.