Rescuers are searching for three missing U.S. service members following the crash of a Marine aircraft off the coast of northeastern Australia on Saturday.
An MV-22 Osprey crashed into the ocean after launching from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), according to Pentagon officials. The aircraft was “conducting regularly scheduled operations” when the mishap occurred.
Of the 26 crew members aboard, 23 have been recovered so far.
The Pentagon said small boats and aircraft from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group are conducting the search and rescue operations for the three missing personnel.
The aircraft had been in Queensland, Australia as part of the massive Talisman Sabre joint training exercise between U.S. and Australian armed forces, which ended on July 25. Australian defense officials have confirmed there were no Australian troops aboard the Osprey, reports Australia’s ABC News
Saturday’s crash comes weeks after a Marine Corps cargo plane broke apart in mid flight and crashed into the Mississippi Delta region, killing 15 Marines and a Navy Corpsman.
The tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey has a reputation within the U.S. military as being a particularly accident-prone aircraft. Five crew members of an Osprey had to be rescued in December 2016 when their aircraft was forced to make a shallow water landing off Okinawa.
More recently, two U.S. troops were injured when a Marine MV-22 made a “hard landing” during a counterterrorism operation in Yemen in January. The Osprey could not take off again due to damage sustained in the landing and had to be destroyed on site.
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