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3 Marines missing after aircraft ‘mishap’ off Australia’s coast

AUSTRALIA — US military aircraft and boats are scouring waters off Australia’s east coast Saturday for three Marines involved in what the Marines Corps is calling a “mishap” with an MV-22 aircraft.

Twenty-three of the 26 personnel on board have been rescued, the US Marine Corps said.

Small boats and aircraft from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group are carrying out the search and rescue operation, according to the Marine Corps.

The incident took place during a training exercise the Marines were conducting with the Australian military. The MV-22 is a vertical-launch aircraft, also known as an Osprey.

“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,” the Marine Corps said in a statement.

In a statement, Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said she had spoken to US Defense Secretary James Mattis to offer Australia’s support in “anyway that can be of assistance.”

Australian authorities said the incident happened in Shoalwater Bay and that no Australian personnel were on board.