US Military Calls off Search for 3 Missing Marines

Reuters

The U.S. military launched a search and rescue effort for the missing Marines, but eventually changed that operation to a recovery effort in coordination with Australian defense forces.

In a statement, Australia's Defense Minister said a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) survey ship located the submerged aircraft on Monday, "shortly after commencing survey operations in the area".

The tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey plunged into the sea at Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton, during a scheduled military exercise on Saturday.

The MV-22 is a hybrid-type aircraft that can take off and land as a helicopter but transitions its two engines to fly like an airplane in midflight.

Twenty-three of 26 personnel aboard the aircraft have been rescued, the Marine base Camp Butler in Japan said in a statement.

The aircraft was in Australia for the Talisman Sabre joint military exercise held by the U.S. and Australia in Shoalwater Bay.

One of three Marines missing off the coast of Australia is from ME, his brother told ABC News.

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"We thank the Australian Defense Force [and] in particular, the crew of the HMAS Melville for their assistance in the search and recovery effort", Davis said. 23 others were rescued.

Australian authorities said no Australian personnel were on board.

Lt Cross' brother Ryan Cross on Monday said his younger sibling had the "highest moral character" and was "devoted" to the Marine Corps. The incident is under investigation, and it is unclear why the Osprey crashed, though landing and taking off from ships at sea is often hard and inherently risky.

United States military forces have been operating in the area as part of a joint training exercise called Talisman Sabre.

Most recently, an Osprey crashed in January during a special operations raid on al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, leaving two servicemembers injured.

The ill-fated flight took place on the southern island of Okinawa, where a squadron of Ospreys is stationed at the US Marines' Futenma base, according to Japanese media.

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