Australia finds US military aircraft that crashed off northeast coast – Navy divers will conduct remotely operated underwater vehicle operations before considering sending down divers, says Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne.
Three MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft flying in formation above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Sydney, Australia, on June 29, 2017 (AFP)
An Australian Navy survey ship has located a US military aircraft that crashed off the Australian northeast coast at the weekend, killing three Marines, Defence Minister Marise Payne said on Monday. The navy divers will conduct remotely operated underwater vehicle operations before considering sending down divers, Payne said in a statement.
The US Defense Department identified the three Marines as First Lieutenant Benjamin Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine; Corporal Nathaniel Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas; and Private First Class Ruben Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles.
Their MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed while on regular operations on Saturday after taking off from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) amphibious assault ship, the Marines Corps said. The Marines have described the incident as a “mishap” and said it was under investigation. Twenty-three other personnel aboard the aircraft were rescued.
The Marine Corps said earlier it had shifted from a search-and-rescue effort to a recovery operation, which could last several months. “Royal Australian Navy survey ship Melville arrived in Shoalwater Bay overnight,” Payne said in the statement. “Shortly after commencing survey operations in the area, the submerged aircraft was located.”