The US Marine Corps have confirmed the death of three US marines, that were aboard the Bonhomme Richard, an aircraft that crashed into waters on the central coast of Queensland on Aug 5, 2017.
The US military had been conducting water training exercises with the Australian military in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, in Queensland. The accident is believed to have occurred while attempting to land the aircraft on a Navy ship, sending all those on board into the water along with the aircraft.
Of the 26 personnel aboard the aircraft, including 21 passengers and 5 crew, only 23 were rescued.
After a long and continuous search and rescue effort around the crash site (18 miles offshore and in a water depth of about 50 metres), by The US Navy and Marine Corps, aided by an aircraft and small boats, declared the three men dead. This is despite their remains not being discovered.
The military has stated that the families of the three missing Marines have been notified, and it has been confirmed that no Australian personnel were on board the aircraft.
The State Government have offered their support, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, stating “On behalf of all Queenslanders, our prayers are with those US military personnel involved in the incident,” she said in a statement
Since 1991, this is the 10th case of a crash involving an Osprey, an aircraft that takes off and lands vertically, but flies like an aeroplane, since 1991, and the sixth incident since it publicly came into service in 2007.
The incident has been described as the worst military accident in Australia since the Black Hawk tragedy that occurred in Townsville in 1996, killing 18 servicemen.