The Navy and Marines have suspended the search for a Marine who bailed out of a MV-22 tilt-rotor Osprey during a Wednesday takeoff from USS Makin Island (LHD-8) operating in the Persian Gulf, the service said in a Thursday statement.
“The Marine aircrew member went into the water yesterday when the aircraft he was aboard lost power shortly after takeoff,” read the statement. “Another air crewman also exited the aircraft at the same time and was safely recovered. He is in stable condition aboard Makin Island.”
The pilot of the Osprey was able to safely recover the aircraft to the deck of Makin Island.
The identity of the Marine will be released likely be released tomorrow — following notification of next-of-kin.
The search included Navy, Marine and Coast Guard ships and aircraft.
The Navy and Marine Corps have begun an investigation into the incident.
Makin Island deployed on July 25 from Naval Station San Diego, Calif. with elements of the 11 Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to relieve the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).
According to information from the Marine Corps, the 11th MEU deployed with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron VMM-163.
The Makin Island ARG is currently supporting U.S. operations in Iraq and Syria.
The following is the Oct. 2 statement from the service on the suspension of the search.
MANAMA, Bahrain – U.S. forces in the North Arabian Gulf concluded a search and rescue operation for a missing U.S. Marine Corps aircrew member today at 3:00 p.m. (GMT), after efforts to locate him were unsuccessful. The Marine is presumed lost at sea.
The Marine aircrew member went into the water yesterday when the aircraft he was aboard lost power shortly after takeoff from USS Makin Island (LHD 8). Another air crewman also exited the aircraft at the same time and was safely recovered. He is in stable condition aboard Makin Island.
The pilot of the aircraft, a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey, was eventually able to regain control and safely land back aboard Makin Island. There were four personnel aboard the aircraft when it took off, two pilots and two enlisted aircrew. The lost Marine was one of the two enlisted aircrew who exited the aircraft when it appeared the Osprey might crash into the ocean.
U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel conducted an extensive search of the area using all available assets, which continued throughout the night and the next day.
The Osprey’s crew was participating in flight operations in support of its current mission at the time of the mishap.
The Navy and Marine Corps will investigate the cause of the incident. In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the name of the Marine will be withheld until 24 hours after family member notification.
USS Makin Island, with embarked elements of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility where it is supporting operations in Iraq and Syria, and throughout the region.