An MV-22 Osprey aircraft went down Aug. 5 in water off the eastern coast of Australia with 26 personnel aboard, Pentagon Defense Press Operations director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today.
Family members have identified one of the Marines missing following a U.S. military aircraft crash off the coast of Australia as Ruben Velasco of Southern California.
Recovery efforts continue for three missing service members after 23 of the personnel aboard the Osprey were rescued, Davis said. The Osprey was assigned to Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 265, which was operating with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, he added.
“The aircraft was conducting regularly scheduled operations when it hit the water,” Davis said, noting that the circumstances are under investigation.
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is operating with the USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group as part of a regularly scheduled deployment in the region, he said.
“We thank the Australian Defense Force [and] in particular, the crew of the HMAS Melville for their assistance in the search and recovery effort,” Davis said. “The Royal Australian Navy clearance diving team completed an embark aboard the HMAS Melville on Aug. 7. … The dive team plans to commence recovery operations using a remote-operated vehicle this evening.”
The location of the aircraft was found yesterday by the hydrographic survey vessel HMAS Melville, he said.
“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,” Davis said. “Their assets have been invaluable in the recovery effort.”