An Australian army helicopter encountered a tragic incident during joint military manoeuvres with the United States off the Queensland coast, resulting in four aircrew members being reported missing. The unfortunate crash occurred near Lindeman Island, a popular tourist destination within the Great Barrier Reef, at approximately 11 p.m. on Friday.
Australian Army Brigadier Damian Hill, the exercise director, confirmed that efforts are currently underway to locate the four missing aircrew members, all of whom are Australian males. The search operation involves personnel from the United States, Canada, and Australia, working tirelessly to find any trace of the crew members.
As the rescue mission unfolds, debris that appears to be from the downed helicopter has been recovered, according to Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Douglas McDonald.
The incident took place during the Talisman Sabre, a biennial joint U.S.-Australian military exercise predominantly held in Queensland. This year’s exercise brings together 13 nations and over 30,000 military personnel.
Australia’s Defense Minister Richard Marles clarified that the helicopter had ditched, referring to an emergency landing on water. The circumstances surrounding the crash and the well-being of the aircrew members remain a matter of great concern as authorities continue their intensive search and rescue efforts.
This unfortunate event has cast a sombre mood over the military exercise, prompting authorities and the international military community to unite in their efforts to locate the missing crew members and provide support to their families during this difficult time.