Wichita-area native is one of three Marines missing near Australia

Nathan Ordway is among three Marines missing after the crash

Nathan Ordway is among three Marines missing after the crash

U.S. military officials have called off a search and rescue operation for three U.S. Marines who were missing after their Osprey aircraft crashed into the sea off the east coast of Australia while trying to land.

"One of the Royal Australian Navy's survey ships, HMAS Melville, is now en route to the search area from the ship's home port of Cairns", Senator Payne said.

"Recovery and salvage operations can take several months to complete, but can be extended based on several environmental factors", Camp Butler's statement said. The ship's small boats and aircraft immediately responded in the search and rescue efforts. "The circumstances of the mishap are now under investigation, and there is no additional information available at this time".

Of the 26 personnel aboard the aircraft, 23 were rescued.

The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group was in Australia to participate in joint training maneuves involving more than 33,000 US and Australian military personnel, which ended two weeks ago. The MV-22, which is half-helicopter half-turboprop, has two engines positioned on fixed wingtips that allow it to land and take off vertically. The Talisman Sabre exercise, a biennial event between the two nations, involved more than 30,000 troops and 200 aircraft. They have been involved in a series of high-profile crashes in recent years.

Payne said she had spoken with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis "to offer Australia's support in any way that can be of assistance".

The incident happened off the coast of Shoalwater Bay in Queensland at about 4 p.m. local time on Saturday (0600 GMT), the Marine Corps said.

The exercises in the Coral Sea included the participation of MV-22 Ospreys practicing the deployment of U.S. Marine reconnaissance teams. Its five crew members were rescued safely.

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