Fourth marine fights for survival after ocean crash
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.