Three Marines missing after aircraft 'mishap' off Australian coast

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

The third Marine Expeditionary Force said the aircraft had launched for "regularly scheduled operations" before it entered the water. Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said that she had spoken with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to offer her country's support.

The aircraft was in Australia for a joint military training exercise held by the USA and Australia last month in Shoalwater Bay.

In a statement, the US Marine Corps Public Affairs Office said there had been a "mishap".


"On behalf of all Queenslanders, our prayers are with those USA military personnel involved in the incident", she said in a statement.

The Osprey is an assault-support aircraft with the capability to land and take off vertically. "The United States are leading the search and recovery effort", she said.

The MV-22 Osprey aircraft is crewed by four people and can carry up to 32 troops.

The V-22 Osprey is a combination aircraft, says its maker Boeing, with helicopterlike rotors allowing it to hover; once airborne, it can convert to a fixed-wing plane capable of high speeds and altitudes.


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

The Marine Corps also participates in rotational unit training deployments to Australia, known as Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, or MRF-D.

The recent joint military exercise took place largely in Shoalwater Bay and involved more than 30,000 USA and Australian personnel, according to Australian Defense Department.

In January this year, an MV-22 had a "hard landing" during a raid in Yemen, injuring three soldiers on board.



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