Marines still missing after Osprey goes into water

MV-22 Osprey

HMAS Canberra conducted trials with a United States Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 16 to further increase capability and interoperability USA and Australian military forces. Apart from the three missing Marines, 23 other personnel aboard the aircraft had been rescued.

The craft has been involved in several crashes in recent...

MV-22 aircraft, known as Ospreys, have a somewhat chequered history, with a number of the helicopter-plane hybrids going down recently.

The search was called off at 3 a.m. local time, 11 hours after the Osprey went down following a launch from the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, officials said in the release. In December, the United States military grounded its Osprey fleet in Japan, after one of the aircraft ditched into the sea, injuring its crew of five when a hose connected to the aircraft broke during a refuelling exercise.

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Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said she had spoken to US Defence Secretary James Mattis to offer support.

Suspending the search was not an easy decision, but it was the only logical one, after the efforts - which included aid from ships and aircraft - yielded no results.

President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident Saturday morning by his chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, a White House official said.

The Osprey was in the region as part of the Australian-US joint military exercise Talisman Sabre, which has just concluded in Queensland.

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The Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but flies like an aeroplane has among the worst accident records of any military transport aircraft in the world.

The US military has been in the area for training exercises with the Australian military. USA military non-combat aviation crashes have totaled 12 in 2017, compared to 8 during the same period in 2016.

"Recovery and salvage operations can take several months to complete, but can be extended based on several environmental factors", Camp Butler's statement said. The biennial exercise involved about 30,000 troops and 200 aircraft.

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