Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 arrives at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps
A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed into the sea off the eastern coast of Australia while trying to land Saturday. Three of the 26 Marines who were aboard are still missing. The other 23 personnel have been rescued. The missing Marines have been identified and declared dead.
The Osprey belonged to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Okinawa, Japan, according to a press release. That release said the aircraft launched from USS Bonhomme Richard and was "conducting regularly scheduled operations when the aircraft entered the water," in Shoalwater Bay near Queensland. Media reports say it crashed trying to land on the USS Green Bay, hitting its flight deck.
According to a Marine press release, the Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving team, which has been assisting in recovery operations, said it would resume search efforts Monday evening using a remote operation vehicle. The team, who had been aboard HMAS Melville, was able to locate the location of the crashed MV-22 Sunday.
According to a statement issued by III Marine Expeditionary Force's commanding general, Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, the Osprey has been deemed safe to fly and has since resumed operations.
"I would never put my aircrews or any local citizens in danger by flying an aircraft that I do not believe is safe and ready to fly," Lt. Gen. Nicholson said. "We did not take the decision to continue flight operations lightly."
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.