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.