Search called off for 3 missing Marines after 'mishap' off east coast of Australia

The search for three Marines missing after a "mishap" Saturday near the east coast of Australia has been called off. 

The three were among 26 personnel aboard an Osprey aircraft taking part in a joint military training exercise held by the United States and Australia. Twenty-three of the 26 crew aboard were rescued, according to the Marine Expeditionary Force.  

The next-of-kin for the three missing Marines have been notified, a Marine Corps said in a statement.

The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation, and there is no additional information available at this time, the statement said.

The transition from a search-and-rescue to a recovery effort took place at 3 a.m. local time Sunday in Australia. 

The military training exercise was held in Shoalwater Bay. The Talisman Sabre exercise, a biennial event between the two nations, involved more than 30,000 troops and 200 aircraft.

The MV-22B “Osprey” tilt rotor aircraft, which can take off and land vertically but fly like an airplane, has a crew of four and can carry up to the 32 people. They have been involved in a series of high-profile crashes in recent years.

In 2015, a U.S. Osprey crashed during a training exercise in Hawaii, killing two Marines.

Last December, a U.S. military Osprey crash-landed off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa. Its five crew members were rescued safely. And in January, three U.S. soldiers were wounded in the "hard landing" of an Osprey in Yemen.

Contributing: Associated Press

© 2017 USA TODAY


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