Search continues after US Marine aircraft 'mishap' off Australia

MV-22 Osprey

SYDNEY-A search-and-rescue effort is under way for three U.S. Marines after a Marine aircraft went down in waters off the east coast of Australia, U.S. Marine officials and the Australian defense minister said Saturday.

Twenty-three of the 26 personnel aboard the MV-22 Osprey have been rescued.

Three service members are missing after a Marine Corps aircraft carrying more than two dozen people crashed off the Australian coast on Saturday. The aircraft was "conducting regularly scheduled operations" when the mishap occurred. The helicopter was part of the joint US and Australian military exercise "Talisman Sabre", which has recently concluded.

She had also briefed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and spoken with US Defense Secretary James Mattis to offer Australia's support.

The ship's small boats and aircraft are involved in the search off Shoalwater Bay in Queensland state.

More recently, two USA troops were injured when a Marine MV-22 made a "hard landing" during a counterterrorism operation in Yemen in January.

"The circumstances of the mishap are now under investigation".

No Australian Defence Force personnel were aboard the helicopter at the time of the crash.

The incident was one of the deadliest military aviation accidents in decades and it still remains unclear what brought the aircraft down. "We will provide more details as they become available", the statement added. Its five crew members were rescued safely. "The United States is leading the search and recovery effort".

"Our thoughts are with the crew and families affected", she said.

Since 1991, there have been 9 fatal crashes involving V-22 Ospreys. And in January, three USA soldiers were wounded in the "hard landing" of an Osprey in Yemen.

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