US military officials have called off a search and rescue operation for three US Marines who were missing after their Osprey aircraft crashed into the sea off the east coast of Australia while trying to land. The US Marine base Camp Butler in Japan says in a statement that the rescue operation was suspended on Sunday morning. The military has launched a recovery effort instead and the missing Marines' next of kin had been notified, reports the AP. The MV-22 Osprey had launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard and was conducting regularly scheduled operations on Saturday when it crashed into the water. Twenty-three of 26 personnel aboard the aircraft were rescued.
The ship's small boats and aircraft immediately responded in the search and rescue efforts, according to the statement. The Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but flies like an airplane. They have been involved in a series of high-profile crashes in recent years. The aircraft was in Australia for a joint military training exercise held by the US and Australia last month. (Read more Osprey stories.)