Home » Aviation » 3 Marines Missing Off Australia Following MV-22 Mishap; 31st MEU, Bonhomme Richard Leading Search


3 Marines Missing Off Australia Following MV-22 Mishap; 31st MEU, Bonhomme Richard Leading Search

An MV-22B Osprey assigned to the “Dragons” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced) lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on Aug. 3, 2017. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated with a new statement from III MEF.

A search is on for three U.S. Marines who are missing following an MV-22 mishap off the coast of Australia at about 2 a.m. EST, according to an early Saturday statement from III Marine Expeditionary Force.

According to the statement from III MEF, small boats and aircraft from the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit are looking for the missing Marines in an ongoing search and rescue operation off of the east coast of the country. Twenty-three Marines were rescued following the mishap.

“The MV-22 was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. 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,” read the statement.
“The ship’s small boats and aircraft immediately responded in the search and rescue efforts. The 31st MEU is currently operating with the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group as part of a regularly-scheduled deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”

A statement from the Australian Minister of Defence said there were no Australian forces aboard.

“I have been advised of an incident involving a United States Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey helicopter off the coast of Shoalwater Bay today,” said Marise Payne in a statement.
“I can confirm no Australian Defence Force personnel were on board the aircraft. The United States are leading the search and recovery effort.”

According to an NBC News report, the MV-22 was on approach to USS Green Bay (LPD-20) when the accident occurred. The aircraft mishap also resulted in damage to Green Bay’s flight deck.

The Okinawa, Japan-based 31st MEU and the Bonhomme Richard ESG have been operating off of Australia for the last several weeks as part of the Talisman Saber exercise in the Coral Sea.

The incident is currently under investigation.

The following are the complete statements from III MEF and the Marise Payne.

III MEF:
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan – Search and rescue operations continue for three U.S. Marines that were aboard an MV-22 Osprey involved in a mishap off of the east coast of Australia around 4:00 p.m. Aug. 5. Twenty-three of 26 personnel aboard have been rescued.

The MV-22 was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. 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 ship’s small boats and aircraft immediately responded in the search and rescue efforts. The 31st MEU is currently operating with the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group as part of a regularly-scheduled deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation.

Payne:
I have been advised of an incident involving a United States Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey helicopter off the coast of Shoalwater Bay today.
I can confirm no Australian Defence Force personnel were on board the aircraft.
The United States are leading the search and recovery effort.
I have briefed Prime Minister Turnbull and spoken with Secretary Mattis this evening to offer Australia’s support in anyway that can be of assistance.
Our thoughts are with the crew and families affected.

  • muzzleloader

    Prayers.

  • Bob Wendt

    Most accident-prone aircraft in the inventory…dumb design..

    • Bill

      That’s your opinion backed by what facts?

      • Kev789

        Lot’s of experts here; hard to understand why they were not consulted on the design.

        • old guy

          We were all consulted and our recommendation to cancel the design was rejected. Please see my other comments.

      • old guy

        Please read my comments on this matter, If you want to take it, point by point, I will engage at your request, I was the Navy’s Director of Science and Technology at the time that it was shoved down our throat, by Congress.

    • Blain Shinno

      I don’t know how much the high accidents rates are related to type of aircraft (tilt rotors). Or is it more related to the fact that it is the first generation. Whittle’s book on the Osprey is a good read.

      I am not sure if the operational advantages of the V-22 (range and speed) outweigh the safety and tactical disadvantages of the aircraft.

      • El Kabong

        “I don’t know how much the high accidents rates are related to type of aircraft (tilt rotors).”

        Look it up.

        • old guy

          That’s the point. Tilt rotors are stupid, dangerous and inefficient.

          • El Kabong

            LOL!

            Clearly, you missed the point.

            Show some data, not your amateur opinions.

      • old guy

        Since you seem a reasonable chap I will give you 3 unfixable flaws:
        1. 3 piece high speed cross shaft. 45 feet long, engine to engine. Like carrying your groceries with arms outstretched.
        2 Complete loss of stability if gear box damaged.
        3. Complete loss of stability if blade cracks or twists.

        The correct solution for the mission is a compound helicopter.

    • El Kabong

      Most amateurish post so far….dumb comment with no facts.

      • old guy

        Bob Wendt is absolutely correct. For more FACTS, please read my comments, here and in other related venues.

        • El Kabong

          Most amateurish post so far….dumb comment with no facts.

          Nice job!

          • old guy

            None so blind as those who look but do not see. None so deaf as those who hear but do not listen.

          • El Kabong

            Nice description of your comment history.

      • DaSaint

        LOL. Unfortunately I’m not old enough to provide fiirst-hand knowledge circa 1909. But that’s what the battleship community said about aircraft used as a naval weapon, and we all know how that turned out. Sorry to hear that’s your sentiment, but it’s pretty common knowledge that there is always resistance to new technologies and/or innovative proposed operations.

        My point still remains, Ospreu may have its inherent flaws for now, but the concept is not going to go away. Get used it it, and its successors.

        • El Kabong

          Look again at who I was replying to…

          • DaSaint

            My apologies. Not too old for glasses. Sometimes I should wear them.

          • El Kabong

            All good. 😉

        • old guy

          Your contention about acceptance of new technology is absolutely CORRECT. I know because I was NAVSEA 003/03R for 6 years. In charge of ASTDs, BTIs and ISIs. However in the case of v-22, all parties IN the SEVICES opposed it for cause. It was put in as a pork project and supported by Congress as if their Campaign contributions depended on it.

          • DaSaint

            I’m sure you’ve seen a lot. I can imagine the internal debates as well as the political ones. No easy answers. Development took a long time, some feel way too long (as if development has a finite timeline), but had it not been developed by us, someone else would have.

            We shouldn’t be surprised moving forward, if there are systems and/or weapons developed by others (ahem, China) that we haven’t developed. It’s possible. That’s why we have to have a robust R&D budget, and incentivize private industry to do the same.

    • DaSaint

      Monoplanes were accident prone too. Guess we should have stuck to the biplane.
      Early aircraft with retractable landing gear were problematic too. Where is fixed gear when you need it?

      When you come up with a revolutionary aerospace design, let us all know.

      • old guy

        You made that up, On the contrary, monoplanes had a better safety record, since the 1909 Bleriot. The argument was sufficient lift. Since you asked, I was on the design team for the Shuttle, a variation of the Eggers lifting body and P6M the Navy;’s Jet Seaplane, to name 2 of many. Please use facts. Its hard enough to combat biases.

    • NGH144

      If the are so bad why is the Air Force looking into using them? They will be the CV 22 in the Air Force.

      • Bill

        Already in AF service with Special Ops.

      • old guy

        In a word, CONGRESS!

    • magic3400

      No, that’s actually the AV-8 Harrier.

      When you are out of ammo, out gunned 5 to 1 and one of the those “dumb designs” is your ride home, remind me how dumb it is.

  • Ziv Bnd

    The Osprey had a tough development process, but since it has been sent into actual service, it has done a very good job of protecting its crew. Popular Mechanics actually looked at the numbers a few years ago, and the numbers since then have been even better. Flight will never be 100% safe, but the Osprey has developed into a very good aircraft that can fly faster than a helo and that is huge advantage.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/a7663/how-safe-is-the-mv-22-osprey-8036684/

    • old guy

      This is not the proper venue for an in-depth argument, but all that you state (not your fault) is pure propaganda. I was in on all the assessments in the 90s that, uniformly stated, it was a BUM idea.

      • Ziv Bnd

        old guy, that may have been true in the 90’s when it was nearing production. But since it reached full rate production in 2005 (and went operational in 2007) and was then sent to war, it has proven itself time and again. It has a safety rate since it went operational that is better than that of the Chinook.
        ” According to the U.S. military, this aircraft (Osprey) flies much higher and faster than helicopters and has six to seven times more survivability than the widely used CH-46. “

        • old guy

          I will reiterate some comments on why the V22 is JUNK.
          1. Outboard engines are like carrying your groceries with outstretched arms, leading to:
          2. 35 foot long, 3 piece, high speed cross shaft (a frequent failure).
          3. Extreme, instant instability if one blade cracks or breaks.
          4. High maintenance gear boxes.
          5. Very low speed with external load
          6, Highest cost per pound of useful load of ANY A/C.
          More if you want to discuss.
          The real solution is a compound helicopter.

  • Curtis Conway

    Recent increased accident rates are a direct result of lower O&M funding over the last half decade. More ‘Safety Stand-downs’ should be considered, particularly with increased ‘Near Miss’ reports in all aviation communities in EVERY service.

    • old guy

      With its high maintenance cost and low availability, the best “Safety Stand-down” for the V-22 is off to the boneyard. There is not a single attribute of that junker that can’t be matched or exceeded, easily, at much lower cost, with a proper design

      • Curtis Conway

        Are you a fan of the Bell V-280 Valor?

  • old guy

    The Congressionally mandated V-22 is JUNK. I fought its introduction in the 90s, (along with 2 Marine commandants, 3 SEA05s, and 2 CNOs.) However, campaign contributions beat engineering, cost and safety logic. So, now we have a 100 million dollar- 24 passenger disaster with a low availability and high maintenance cost. DISGUSTING.