SYDNEY (AP) — Officials say the submerged wreckage of a U.S. military aircraft has been found two days after it crashed into the sea off the east coast of Australia. Three Marines who were on board the plane remain missing and are presumed dead.
Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne says an Australian Navy ship helped locate the wreckage of the MV-22 Osprey on Monday off the coast of Queensland state. Marine officials say the aircraft was conducting regularly scheduled operations on Saturday when it crashed into the water.
“I want to thank the Australian Defence Force, and the crew of the HMAS Melville in particular, for their assistance in the search and recovery effort of our MV-22 that went down off the coast of Australia,” Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force? said in a statement. “They volunteered their help before we could even ask, demonstrating their friendship and value as international partners. The crew of the Melville and its assets have been invaluable in the recovery effort. On behalf of the Marines, sailors, and families of III MEF, I thank you for your support.”
The Marine base Camp Butler in Japan said a navy dive team plans to start the process of recovering the plane Monday night.