Search on after US Marine aircraft 'mishap' off Australia

An active search and rescue operation has reportedly begun for three US service members who went missing after an aircraft "mishap" occurred off the east coast of Australia. USA TODAY

SYDNEY (AP) - 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.

Twenty-three of the 26 personnel aboard have been rescued, according to the Marine Expeditionary Force.  

The Herald Sun also published an unconfirmed report of two or three fatalities in the incident off Queensland near Rockhampton.

The Osprey aircraft were in Australia for a joint military training exercise held by the U.S. and Australia last month in Shoalwater Bay. The Talisman Sabre exercise, a biennial event between the two nations, involved more than 30,000 troops and 200 aircraft.

The MV-22B “Osprey” tilt rotor aircraft, which can take off and land vertically but fly like an airplane, has a crew of four and can carry up to the 32 people.They have been involved in a series of high-profile crashes in recent years.

In 2015, a U.S. Osprey crashed during a training exercise in Hawaii, killing two Marines. Last December, a U.S. military Osprey crash-landed off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa. Its five crew members were rescued safely. And in January, three U.S. soldiers were wounded in the "hard landing" of an Osprey in Yemen.

Twenty-three of the 26 personnel aboard have been rescued, according to the Marine Expeditionary Force.

Contributing: Associated Press



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