A handout file photo made available on 29 July 2023 by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) shows an Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopter conducting flying serials during a ship's transit to Vanuatu, 23 July 2020 (issued 29 July 2023). EFE/EPA/ADF/LSIS James McDougall HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT: COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA 2023, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE /

4 missing in Australian helicopter crash during joint wargames with US

Sydney, Australia, Jul 29 (EFE).- Four Australian Defence Force personnel remain missing after a helicopter crashed during joint maneuvers with the United States off the Queensland coast, Australia’s Defense Ministry said Saturday.

“Defence can confirm an Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopter has impacted waters near Lindeman Island, off the Queensland coast,” Australia’s defense ministry said in a statement.

“The aircraft was participating in a night-time training activity as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 when it was reported missing late on Friday night,” the statement added.

The ministry added that the crew were aboard the aircraft and were currently missing.

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said that a joint search team from the Australian and US armed forces had been deployed to locate the servicemen.

The four servicemen were flying over Australian waters Friday night when their MRH-90 Taipan helicopter plunged into the sea near Hamilton Island, some 890 kilometers from the Queensland state capital city of Brisbane.

Marles and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a joint statement that the four crew members who were on board the helicopter at the time of the accident have not been found.

The helicopter was taking part in night maneuvers as part of the Talisman Sabre 2023 military exercises, Australia’s biggest war-gaming exercise.

The maneuvers, which bring together some 30,000 troops from 13 countries, were temporarily suspended and are scheduled to last until August 4. EFE