USMC's Osprey aircraft crashes in waters off Australian coast
Pentagon Defense Press Operations director navy captain Jeff Davis has announced that the US Marine Corps' (USMC) MV-22 Osprey aircraft has crashed in waters off the eastern coast of Australia with 26 personnel on-board.
The rescue team have so far recovered 23 of the aircraft's crew members and efforts to recover the three missing personnel are ongoing.
MV-22 Osprey was serving the Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 265, which was operating with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, at the time of the incident.
The helicopter was launched from the US Navy's amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, reported ABC News.
Davis noted that the aircraft was carrying out its daily scheduled operations when it went down into the water. He also added that the cause behind the incident is currently under investigation.
The submerged aircraft was located by the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) hydrographic survey vessel HMAS Melville.
The recovery of the aircraft was carried out by the Australian Navy's clearance diving team, which also intends to conduct further recovery operations using a remote-operated vehicle.
Davis said: “We thank the Australian Defence Force [and] in particular, the crew of the HMAS Melville for their assistance in the search and recovery effort.
“The Australian forces volunteered their help before we could even ask, demonstrating the deep ties and enduring nature of the alliance between our two countries, and the crew of the Melville.
"Their assets have been invaluable in the recovery effort.”
MV-22 Osprey is an assault-support helicopter featuring vertical take-off and landing capabilities.
The aircraft was deployed to Australia for a joint training exercise conducted by the US and Australian militaries last month.
Image: US sailors and airmen serving with Special Operations Command Europe train on insertion and extraction techniques using an MV-22 Osprey aircraft near Boeblingen, Germany. Photo: courtesy of the US Army by Martin Greeson.