Three U.S. military marines who were killed after a MV-22 Osprey Aircraft crashed into waters off the Queensland coast have been identified as recovery efforts continued on Monday night.
First Lieutenant Benjamin Cross, 26, Corporal Nathaniel Ordway, 21 and Private First Class Ruben Velasco, 19, were on board the military aircraft, which was carrying 26 people when it entered waters in the Shoalwater Bay training area near Rockhampton, in Central Queensland on Saturday afternoon.
Honor the Fallen— U.S. Marines (@USMC) August 8, 2017
Marines lost in MV-22 mishap:
1st Lt. Benjamin Cross
Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway
Pfc. Ruben Velasco
Semper Fidelis, Marines. pic.twitter.com/42Z3zE2SX1
Most of the military personnel involved in the incident were rescued shortly after the plane went down, but the search for the three missing marines continued until Sunday afternoon, before it was called off by U.S. authorities and refocused as a recovery mission.
Australian Federal Minister for Defence Marise Payne said in a statement the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has joined the recovery efforts and located the submerged aircraft using a survey ship on Monday night.
"The Australian Defence Force has commenced its support to US-led recovery operations following the MV-22 Osprey incident in Shoalwater Bay on Saturday, 5 August," the statement said.
"Royal Australian Navy (RAN) survey ship HMAS Melville arrived in Shoalwater Bay overnight. Shortly after commencing survey operations in the area, the submerged aircraft was located.
"This morning our RAN Clearance Diving team arrived in Rockhampton and has since embarked on HMAS Melvillevia landing craft. The crew of HMAS Melville and our divers will conduct remotely operated underwater vehicle operations beginning this evening. These operations will further survey the aircraft as a prerequisite for diving operations."
In an earlier statement, Payne also confirmed that no Australian military personnel were involved in crash and offered the government's condolences to the families and crew of the three victims.
U.S. Pentagon Defense Press Operations director Jeff Davis told media on Monday the crew on board the Osprey aircraft were in the Shoalwater Bay training area "conducting regularly scheduled operations" when it crashed.
"We thank the Australian Defense Force [and] in particular, the crew of the HMAS Melville for their assistance in the search and recovery effort," he said.
"The Royal Australian Navy clearance diving team completed an embark aboard the HMAS Melville on [Monday].
"The Australian forces volunteered their help before we could even ask, demonstrating the deep ties and enduring nature of the alliance between our two countries, and the crew of the Melville... Their assets have been invaluable in the recovery effort."