Update to US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey Incident off the Queensland Coast
(Source: US Marine Corps; issued August 6, 2017)
The United States Marine Corps have confirmed that at around 3:00am Australian Eastern Standard Time today, the US Navy and US Marine Corps suspended search and rescue operations for three missing Marines involved in the 5 August MV-22 Osprey incident off the east coast of Australia.

The US has now shifted the focus of their operations to recovery and the Australian Government is supporting the US through the deployment of Australian Defence Force capabilities to the area.

The transition to a US led recovery operation after an extensive search and rescue operation by aircraft and ships comes with the acknowledgement that three Marines are still unaccounted for.

Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragic event and the Australian Government stands ready to support the US further in any way we can.

A number of Australian Defence Force assets are involved in supporting the US-led recovery operation. One of the Royal Australian Navy’s survey ships, HMAS Melville, is currently enroute to the search area from the ship’s home port of Cairns. A Navy Clearance Diving team is preparing to move via a Royal Australian Air Force C130J Hercules aircraft to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. This team will then assist in the US recovery mission. Australian Army aviation assets are at short notice readiness to support any further requirements.

These recovery operations are complex in nature and are affected by a range of factors including weather conditions, water depth, debris and water current.

The US military is working with the ADF and other Australian agencies to conduct thorough assessments and planning prior to the formal commencement of any salvage or recovery.

The incident is currently being investigated by US authorities and Australia will assist in these investigations where appropriate.

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MV-22 Osprey Goes Down Off Australian Coast, 3 Personnel Missing
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Aug. 7, 2017)
WASHINGTON --- An MV-22 Osprey aircraft went down Aug. 5 in water off the eastern coast of Australia with 26 personnel aboard, Pentagon Defense Press Operations director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today.

Recovery efforts continue for three missing service members after 23 of the personnel aboard the Osprey were rescued, Davis said. The Osprey was assigned to Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 265, which was operating with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, he added.

“The aircraft was conducting regularly scheduled operations when it hit the water,” Davis said, noting that the circumstances are under investigation.

The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is operating with the USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group as part of a regularly scheduled deployment in the region, he said.

“We thank the Australian Defense Force [and] in particular, the crew of the HMAS Melville for their assistance in the search and recovery effort,” Davis said. “The Royal Australian Navy clearance diving team completed an embark aboard the HMAS Melville on Aug. 7. … The dive team plans to commence recovery operations using a remote-operated vehicle this evening.”

The location of the aircraft was found yesterday by the hydrographic survey vessel HMAS Melville, he said.

“The Australian forces volunteered their help before we could even ask, demonstrating the deep ties and enduring nature of the alliance between our two countries, and the crew of the Melville,” Davis said. “Their assets have been invaluable in the recovery effort.”

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