Fourth marine fights for sur­vival af­ter ocean crash

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - PETER MICHAEL

A US marine is fight­ing for his life as de­tails emerged of three oth­ers killed when their air­craft crashed and sank in the ocean dur­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise off the Queens­land coast.

Royal Australian Navy divers face the grisly task of re­cov­er­ing the bod­ies of the three marines trapped 50m down in the sub­merged wreck­age, about 30km off Shoal- water Bay, north of Rock­hamp­ton.

De­fence Min­is­ter Marise Payne last night con­firmed HMAS Melville had lo­cated the wreck­age of the ill- fated Osprey tilt- ro­tor air­craft.

Pilot Lt Ben­jamin Robert Cross, 26, of Maine, Cor­po­ral Nathan Ord­way, of Kansas, and an­other marine died af­ter the air­craft crashed into the flight deck of the USS Green Bay trans­port ship and slid into the ocean about 4pm Sun­day. Crew mem­bers in small boats and air­craft res­cued 23 of the 26 aboard be­fore the con­tro­ver­sial Osprey MV- 22 air­craft, which has been dubbed a “death trap” and “widow maker” af­ter a his­tory of ac­ci­dents, sank to the sea floor.

A 36- year- old avi­a­tor in­jured in the crash was flown to Rock­hamp­ton Hos­pi­tal and trans­ferred to Bris­bane where he was listed as “crit­i­cal”.

Yes­ter­day, the griev­ing brother of 1st Lt Cross, told US broad­caster CBS: “The world needs to know that we still have heroes.’’

Ryan Cross said that the lost avi­a­tor was “devoted” to the Marine Corps and it was his dream to be a pilot in the mil­i­tary. “He was so smart and just a great guy,’’ Mr Cross said.

“( He had) the high­est moral char­ac­ter – just the most car­ing, com­pas­sion­ate, em­pa­thet- ic in­di­vid­ual I’ve ever met. He would do any­thing for any­body that needed it, so self­less.’’

Friends and rel­a­tives of Cpl Ord­way, a crew chief, posted on so­cial me­dia that he was among the miss­ing marines and have asked for oth­ers “to pray” for him.

It is the 10th known crash in­volv­ing an Osprey – a tiltro­tor air­craft that takes off and lands like a he­li­copter, but flies like a plane – since 1991.

Lt Ben­jamin Robert Cross.

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