Sydney: The US Marine Corps said on Saturday that a major search and rescue operation was underway for three missing service members following a “mishap” involving an American military aircraft off the Australian coast.
US Marines based in Japan said “search and rescue operations continue for three US Marines that were aboard an MV-22 Osprey involved in a mishap off of the east coast of Australia”.
“Twenty-three of 26 personnel aboard have been rescued,” they added in a statement.
The MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor is the primary assault support aircraft for the Marines, with two engines positioned on fixed wing tips that allow it to land and take off vertically. It also has the ability to travel much faster than a helicopter.
“The aircraft involved in the mishap had launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and was conducting regularly scheduled operations when the aircraft entered the water,” the statement said.
The ship’s small boats and aircraft are involved in the search off Shoalwater Bay in Queensland state. “The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation,” the statement added.