A U.S. marine aircraft that went down on Saturday, Aug. 5, has been located by Australia’s navy, Australia’s department of Defense said Sunday.
The MV-22 Osprey aircraft was located in Shoalwater Bay on the country’s northeast shore off the coast of Queensland near where it entered the water.
Australia’s Department of Defense said in a statement that its clearance diving team was searching the aircraft with underwater vehicles and was preparing to send in divers.
The Osprey had 26 passengers aboard, of which 23 have been rescued. Australian emergency officials said one person had been taken to the hospital in Rockhampton in northeastern Queensland State but gave no other details. The next-of-kin of the three still missing have been notified, the Marine Corps Base Camp Butler in Okinawa, Japan, said in a statement.
The U.S. Marines said in a statement on Sunday that it had suspended the search, saying it may take “several months” to complete.
The aircraft was in Australia for the biennial Talisman Sabre joint U.S. and Australia military exercise that ended July 25. The aircraft had taken off from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) amphibious assault ship and was on regular operations when it hit the water, according to the Marines Corps.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology described wind, swell, and atmospheric conditions at the time of the incident as “benign.”
“The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation, and there is no additional information available at this time,” the U.S. Marines said in a press release.
Reuters contributed to this report.