Search continues after US Marine aircraft 'mishap' off Australia

Saul Bowman
August 6, 2017

An American military helicopter has crashed off the coast of Queensland, with at least three US Marines missing, feared dead.

U.S. Marine teams were conducting search and rescue operations off the east coast of Australia Saturday for three Marines missing after a "mishap" with their Osprey aircraft.

A MV-22 Osprey carrying 26 military personnel went down about 4 p.m. local time Saturday, according to Marine officials.

"The circumstances of the mishap are now under investigation", the release states.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.

The battle phase of the training exercise centred around the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Central Queensland. The Osprey was in Australia for a joint training exercise between the U.S. and Australia that ended July 25.

Small boats and aircraft from the Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship, immediately swung into action. They have been involved in a series of high-profile crashes in recent years. The incident was one of the deadliest military aviation accidents in decades and it still remains unclear what brought the aircraft down.

"The United States are leading the search and recovery effort" the statement says. Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said that she had spoken with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to offer her country's support.

'Our thoughts are with the crew and families affected'.

The Marines were running training exercises with the Australian military when the Osprey entered the water.

Last December, a U.S. Marine MV-22 Osprey based at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma ditched off Okinawa's coast, injuring five crew members.

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