A U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft has crashed off the coast of Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton in North Queensland, eastern Australia in the late afternoon on Saturday.
The 23 of the 26 personnel on board the aircraft had been accounted for and a search and rescue effort was under way last night for the three missing personnel.
Officials said small boats and aircrafts from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) were conducting the search and rescue operations.
The MV-22 was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. 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 31st MEU is currently operating with the Bonhomme Richard ESG as part of a regularly-scheduled deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation.
Four Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey aircraft were in Australia landing in Darwin at the end of April to take part in Talisman Sabre military exercise.
— III MEF Marines (@IIIMEF) August 5, 2017
The crash comes weeks after USMC KC-130T Hercules cargo/refueling plane crashed in Mississippi killing 15 Marines and one Navy sailor.
About V-22 Osprey:
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities.
It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.
The MV-22 reached initial operational capability (IOC) with the U.S. Marine Corps on 13 June 2007. The Osprey has been replacing the CH-46 Sea Knight since 2007; the Sea Knight was retired in October 2014.