Search ends for Marines af­ter crash

The three went miss­ing af­ter an Osprey landed in the sea off Aus­tralia.

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD -

SYD­NEY, Aus­tralia — U.S. mil­i­tary of­fi­cials called off a search and res­cue op­er­a­tion on Sun­day for three U.S. Marines who were miss­ing af­ter their Osprey air­craft crashed into the sea off the east coast of Aus­tralia while try­ing to land.

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps sus­pended the res­cue op­er­a­tion and launched a re­cov­ery ef­fort in­stead, the Marine base Camp But­ler in Ja­pan said in a state­ment, es­sen­tially con­firm­ing the mil­i­tary does not ex­pect to find the miss­ing Marines alive.

The Marines’ next of kin had been no­ti­fied, and Aus­tralia’s de­fense force was as­sist­ing the Amer­i­cans with the re­cov­ery ef­fort, the state­ment said.

Twenty-three of 26 per­son­nel aboard the air­craft were res­cued, the Marine Corps Base Camp But­ler in Ja­pan said in a state­ment.

The MV-22 Osprey in­volved in the mishap had launched from the U.S. ves­sel Bon­homme Richard and was con­duct­ing reg­u­larly sched­uled op­er­a­tions when the air­craft crashed into the wa­ter, the state­ment said.

The Osprey is a tilt-ro­tor air­craft that takes off and lands like a he­li­copter, but f lies like an air­plane. The air­craft have been in­volved in a series of high-pro­file crashes in re­cent years.

The craft was in Aus­tralia for a joint mil­i­tary train­ing ex­er­cise held by the U.S. and Aus­tralia last month in Shoal­wa­ter Bay. The Tal­is­man Sabre ex­er­cise, a bi­en­nial event be­tween the nations, in­volved over 30,000 troops and 200 air­craft.

Aus­tralian De­fense Min­is­ter Marise Payne said Satur­day’s in­ci­dent oc­curred off the coast of Shoal­wa­ter Bay in Queens­land state.

“I can con­firm no Aus­tralian De­fense Force per­son­nel were on board the air­craft,” Payne said in a state­ment. “The United States are lead­ing the search and re­cov­ery ef­fort.”

Payne said she had spo­ken with De­fense Sec­re­tary James N. Mat­tis “to of­fer Aus­tralia’s sup­port in any way that can be of as­sis­tance.”

The White House said Pres­i­dent Trump was briefed on the mat­ter by his chief of staff, John F. Kelly.

Ja­son Reed As­so­ci­ated Press

AN OSPREY lands on the Bon­homme Richard. The Marines were in Aus­tralia for a joint ex­er­cise.

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