Recovery mission as three Marines lost in US aircraft crash
UPDATE 12PM: THREE people are tragically feared dead following a US Marine Corps aircraft crash yesterday afternoon.
The US Marine Corps have issued a statement, confirming search and rescue operations for three Marines involved in the crash have now shifted to recovery efforts.
"On August 6 around 3am local time, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps suspended search and rescue operations for three Marines involved in the August 5 MV-22 Osprey mishap off the east coast of Australia," a USMC spokesperson said.
"Operations have now shifted to recovery efforts. The next-of-kin for the three missing Marines have been notified.
"The transition comes after teams led continuous sustained search efforts supported by aircraft and ships.
"As the sea state permits, recovery efforts will be conducted to further search, assess and survey the area, in coordination and with assistance from the Australian Defence Force."
The USMC said the recovery and salvage operations could take several months to complete, but can be extended based on several environmental factors.
"The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation, and there is no additional information available at this time."
UPDATE 11AM: NEW information obtained by The Morning Bulletin has revealed where the MV-22 Osprey crashed and where a search and rescue mission is underway.
Yeppoon Coast Guard Flotilla Commander Jim Warren confirmed it was understood the tilt-rotor aircraft crashed at Pearl Bay near Townsend Island, about 10 nautical miles/18km east of the Shoalwater Bay coastline.
He confirmed a search and rescue mission was still ongoing this morning with three people still reportedly missing and feared dead.
Mr Warren said Yeppoon Coast Guard was made aware of the mission, they were not involved in the search and rescue.
37th Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert Neller has spoken about the crash.
"Please keep the families of those involved in the Osprey mishap near Australia in your thoughts and prayers," General Neller posted on Twitter this morning.
Please keep the families of those involved in the Osprey mishap near Australia in your thoughts and prayers.— Robert B. Neller (@GenRobertNeller) August 5, 2017
UPDATE 10.30AM: QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has issued a statement following last night's MV-22 Osprey crash off the Capricorn Coast.
Premier Palaszczuk said the Queensland Government offers its support to search and rescue efforts following the incident at Shoalwater Bay.
"In recent weeks, many Queenslanders have had the opportunity to meet US servicemen and servicewoman visiting as they prepare for the joint military exercise Talisman Saber in central Queensland," Premier Palaszczuk said.
"On behalf of all Queenslanders, our prayers are with those US military personnel involved in the incident."
The US Marine Corps have released new details about how and when the accident occurred.
In a statement, the USMC said the accident, which involved an MV-22 assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced) 31st Marine Expeditionary Uni, occurred around 4pm yesterday afternoon.
"The aircraft involved in the mishap had launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and was conducting regularly scheduled operations when the aircraft entered the water, " a USMC spokesperson said.
"The ship's small boats and aircraft immediately responded in the search and rescue efforts.
"The 31st MEU is currently operating with the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group as part of a regularly-scheduled deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
"The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation."
A Queensland Ambulance Service has confirmed one marine was transported to Rockhampton Base Hospital last night suffering serious injuries including a fractured leg.
The 23 other marines recovered from the crash are understood to have suffered serious injuries and are being treated on a war ship.
Three people remain missing.
UPDATE 5AM: THREE people are missing feared dead, and 23 people have been rescued - some with serious injuries - after a US military aircraft went down off Rockhampton on Saturday afternoon.
The helicopter - an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor helicopter, which can operate from aircraft carriers - was used as part of the giant Australian-US military exercise Talisman Sabre, which has just concluded.
It is understood the aircraft crashed at Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton in the late afternoon.
Military sources said the accident happened as the aircraft attempted to land on the USS Ronald Reagan.
A search and rescue effort continues, with boats and warships searching for the missing personnel.
Four Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey aircraft were in Australia from US Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268, landing in Darwin at the end of April.
Sources told The Sunday Mail one seriously injured marine was being transported to Rockhampton Hospital.
It's understood most of those rescued had serious injuries. There are no Australians involved.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was travelling back from Western Australia but his office had been briefed on the incident.
Likewise US President Donald Trump, who has just begun a 17-day "working vacation", at his New Jersey golf club, had been informed of the incident by his new chief of staff John Kelly, a White House official told reporters.
The strange-looking aircraft, resembling a cross between a helicopter and aeroplane, has capabilities including taking off vertically and travelling much faster than a helicopter.
In a statement, the US Military said: "The United States Marine Corps confirms there is an active search and rescue operation ongoing for service members involved in an MV-22 mishap off the east coast of Australia. Ship's small boats and aircraft from the 31st Marine.
Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group are conducting the search and rescue operations. We will provide more details as they become available.''
In a statement, federal Defence Minister Marise Payne has confirmed that no Australian Defence Force personnel were on board the aircraft.
"I have been advised of an incident involving a United States Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey helicopter off the coast of Shoalwater Bay today.
"The United States are leading the search and recovery effort.
"I have briefed Prime Minister Turnbull and spoken with Secretary Mattis this evening to offer Australia's support in anyway that can be of assistance."
"Our thoughts are with the crew and the families affected".
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit shared photos of an Osprey helicopter conducting amphibious training from the USS Bonhomme Richard off the coast of Shoalwater Bay yesterday.
Since becoming operational with the US military in 2007, the MV-22 Osprey has had five serious crashes and several other accidents that have resulted in nine deaths.
The controversial aircraft was also involved in four crashes with 30 deaths during its testing phase between 1991 and 2000.
UPDATE 10.55PM: IT is understood most of the casualties from this evening's crash at Shoalwater Bay have been transferred to a war ship for treatment.
A Morning Bulletin reporter at Rockhampton Hospital said at least one seriously injured patient has arrived at the hospital via Queensland Ambulance with Rockhampton Airport Security.
The US Marine Corps have issued the below statement:
More to come.
UPDATE 10.33PM: AUSTRALIAN Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne has issued a statement regarding this evening's MV-22 Osprey crash.
Senator Payne confirmed no Australian Defence Force personnel were on board the aircraft.
"I have been advised of an incident involving a United States Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey helicopter off the coast of Shoalwater Bay today," Sen Payne said.
"I can confirm no Australian Defence Force personnel were on board the aircraft. The United States are leading the search and recovery effort.
"I have briefed Prime Minister Turnbull and spoken with Secretary Mattis this evening to offer Australia's support in anyway that can be of assistance.
"Our thoughts are with the crew and families affected."
UPDATE 10.30PM: THE UNITED States Marine Corps have issued a statement confirming an active search and rescue operation ongoing for service members involved in an MV-22 'mishap' off the east coast of Australia.
"Ships, small boats and aircraft from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group are conducting the search and rescue operations," the statement reads.
UPDATE 10.15PM: CASUALTIES have reportedly started arriving at Rockhampton Base Hospital after a US Marines Corp MV-22 crashed at Shoalwater Bay earlier this evening.
CQ Plane Spotting reports a US Marines Corp Seakhawk helicopter has just landed at Rockhampton Airport with the first casualties from the incident.
Reports indicate 23 people will be rushed to the Hospital, with reports three people are still missing and are feared dead.
More to come.
UPDATE 9.50PM: REPORTS from the Rockhampton Base Hospital indicate staff are dealing with a 'mass casualty' event.
A witness, who was a patient at the hospital, said there was a high alert amongst staff after reports of an aircraft incident with more than 20 beds required.
The Morning Bulletin has now confirmed with multiple agencies that a US Marines Corps aircraft has crashed off the Capricorn Coast.
More to come.
BREAKING 9.30PM: A MAJOR aircraft incident has occurred off the Capricorn Coast, with reports a US Marine Corps aircraft has crashed near Shoalwater Bay.
It is understood 26 people were on board the aircraft at the time of the accident and a search and rescue mission is being coordinated by the US Navy.
Reports indicate 23 people have already been recovered, but three people remain missing.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has tweeted about the incident, reporting Marine Corps have announced a search and rescue after the MV-22 crash.
Small boats and warships are involved in the search and The Morning Bulletin understands local volunteer marine rescue crews are also responding.
Queensland Ambulance crews from Rockhampton are also responding.
More to come.