OKINAWA, Japan (AP) – A search and rescue operation was underway Saturday for service members involved in the “mishap” of an aircraft off the east coast of Australia, U.S. Marine officials said.
Ships, small boats and aircraft from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group were conducting the operations following the incident involving an MV-22 Osprey, the Marine base Camp Butler in Japan said in a statement.
The statement did not provide further details, and it was not immediately clear whether there were any casualties.
Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said the incident occurred off the coast of Shoalwater Bay in Queensland state.
“I can confirm no Australian Defence Force personnel were on board the aircraft,” Payne said. “The United States are leading the search and recovery effort.”
Payne said she had spoken with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “to offer Australia’s support in any way that can be of assistance.”
The Osprey aircraft were in Australia for a joint military training exercise held by the U.S. and Australian military last month in Shoalwater Bay. The Talisman Sabre exercise, a biennial event between the two nations, involved more than 30,000 troops and 200 military aircraft.