Sky- tech training turns to tragedy
A RAAF Boeing 707- 368C stalled and crashed into the sea near RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria. Five crew members were killed.
A RAAF McDonnell- Douglas F/ A- 18A Hornet, of 75 Squadron, crashed 100 kilometres northeast of Weipa. The pilot was killed. The wreckage of the aircraft was found three years later. Force C130J Hercules aircraft to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
“Australian Army aviation assets are at short notice readiness to support any further requirements.”
Ms Payne warned the recovery would be complex.
“The incident is currently
Two Australian Army Sikorsky S- 70A Black Hawk helicopters collided during a night training exercise near Townsville, killing 18 soldiers.
A US Navy McDonnellDouglas F/ A- 18C Hornet crashed on approach to landing g southwest of RAAF Tindal, , NT. The pilot ejected and was injured. being investigated by US authorities and Australia will assist in these investigations where appropriate.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill expressed her sympathies for the families and colleagues of the missing Marines, saying the city knew military tragedy all too well after 18 soldiers were killed when two Australian Army Black Hawk helicopters collided in 1996.
“Our thoughts are with the US servicemen and their families,” she said. “It is truly a tragedy and one that our community has experienced.”
Herbert MP Cathy O’Toole said she was deeply saddened by the accident and that her thoughts were with the affected families. “Tragedies of this nature bring understanding to us all of the selfless work undertaken by defence force personnel around the world,” she said. IT’S an impressive war fighting machine that thrills allies and threatens enemies, promising support for friends and wrath from the air for anyone threatening the US.
Even among the billions of dollars of aerial hardware in Rockhampton for last month’s Operation Talisman Sabre, the US Marine Corps’ MV- 22 Ospreys thundering over central Queensland were stars.
With their radical ability to take off vertically like helicopters before rotating their blades to fly like a plane, the Ospreys wowed the massive crowds around the airport and impressed the Australian troops in the field who marvelled as the heli- planes ferried soldiers between land and sea.
When the exercise ended, a small group of marines from the 31st Expeditionary Unit stayed on at Shoalwater Bay to hone their skills. On Saturday, that exercise turned to tragedy at 4.07pm when one of the $ 100 million Ospreys with 26 Marines on board crashed during routine training.
The Osprey was shuttling troops from the Marine unit’s flagship vessel the USS Bonhomme Richard to the USS Green Bay, an amphibious transport dock, in the ocean between Cape Manifold and Cape Wilson. The heli- plane was reportedly on its final approach to the USS Green Bay when it smashed into the flight deck before plunging into the waters of Shoalwater Bay.
The crew was thrown into the ocean and forced to evacuate the sinking helicopter.
Marines on board the ship rapidly launched small boats and aircraft for a rescue mission. They plucked 23 soldiers out of the ocean before the search was called off at 3am.
A Marine Sea King helicopter took one injured US marine to Rockhampton for treatment but the remaining members were treated on vessels at sea.
As daylight broke yesterday, the mission’s focus moved to recovery. “The next of kin for the three missing Marines have been notified,” the Marines said in a statement.
It is believed the flight deck of the USS Green Bay was damaged and rendered inoperable during the crash, creating extra difficulties for the search and rescue effort.
A lone plane spotter at Rockhampton Airport yesterday said there had been intense activity there on Saturday night when the Sea King helicopter had brought the wounded Marine to hospital. But he said yesterday was the quietest the airport had been in nearly a month.