Marines searching for three service members after Osprey 'mishap' off Australian coast

Lance Cpl. Stormy Mendez/U.S. Marine Corps(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Marine Corps said it is conducting a search-and-rescue operation for three service members who were aboard an Osprey involved in what the military called a “mishap” off the east coast of Australia on Saturday.

Twenty-three of the 26 personnel aboard the MV-22 Osprey have been rescued. The Osprey is an assault-support aircraft with the capability to land and take off vertically.

The Osprey had launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard amphibious assault ship and was conducting regularly scheduled operations when the helicopter “entered the water,” according to a statement from the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

“The ship’s small boats and aircraft immediately responded in the search-and-rescue efforts,” the statement added. “The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation.”

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, according to the White House.

The Australian defense minister, Marise Payne, issued a statement Saturday saying she had been advised of the incident off the coast of the country’s Shoalwater Bay. Payne said she has briefed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and spoken with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to “offer Australia’s support in any way that can be of assistance.”

“I can confirm no Australian Defense Force personnel were on board the aircraft. The United States are leading the search-and-recovery effort,” Payne noted in her statement. “Our thoughts are with the crew and families affected.”

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