A US military helicopter has crashed off the coast of Australia

The aircraft was a MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor helicopter, like this one.

Three people are missing, feared dead after a United States military aircraft crashed off the Queensland coast.

The aircraft, an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor helicopter, had been taking part in a large Australian-US military exercise, Talisman Sabre, which had just ended and was reportedly attempting to land when it went down. 

Four of the Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey aircraft landed in Darwin at the end of April for the exercise, from US Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268.

The aircraft are able to take off vertically, operate from aircraft carriers, and are capable of travelling much faster than an ordinary helicopter. 

News Corp reported that military sources say the helicopter, which was carrying 26 military personnel was attempting to land on the USS Ronald Reagan off the coast of Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton in central North Queensland in the late afternoon when the accident took place.

Ad. Article continues below.

A search and rescue mission is underway, as boats and warships search for the missing military personnel. 

It was reported that most of those who have been rescued had serious injuries as a result of the crash. 

The US Military said in a statement:

“The United States Marine Corps confirms there is an active search and rescue operation ongoing for service members involved in an MV-22 mishap off the east coast of Australia. Ship’s small boats and aircraft from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group are conducting the search and rescue operations. We will provide more details as they become available.”

Ad. Article continues below.

So far, 23 of the 26 onboard have been accounted for, leaving grave fears for those still missing. It is understood that there were no Australians involved in the crash. 

According to The Sunday Mail, a source said that one seriously injured Marine was being transported to Rockhampton Hospital. 

Ad. Article continues below.

Malcolm Turnbull has been briefed on the crash, with federal Defence Minister Marise Payne releasing the following statement:

“I have been advised of an incident involving a United States Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey helicopter off the coast of Shoalwater Bay today.

“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 the families affected.”

Do you have any thoughts to share with those affected by the accident?