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Marines to Pause Flight Operations for Review After Osprey Crash

by Dartunorro Clark /
Three MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircrafts flying in formation above the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Sydney, Australia, on June 29, 2017. The US Marine Corps said on August 5, 2017, that a major search and rescue operation was underway for three missing service members following a "mishap" involving a US military aircraft off the Australian coast. US Marines based in Japan said "search and rescue operations continue for three U.S. Marines that were aboard an MV-22 Osprey involved in a mishap off of the east coast of Australia".Amy Phan / US Marine Corp via AFP - Getty Images

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The U.S. Marine Corps is pausing flight operations after an aircraft crash in Australia last weekend in which three U.S. Marines went missing.

Gen. Robert B. Neller, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, directed all aviation units to conduct an “operational reset” for a 24 hour-period, where aviation units will be grounded and officials will conduct a top-to-bottom review “to focus on the fundamentals of safe flight operations, standardization, and combat readiness.”

The move comes after three Marines went missing and are presumed dead after their aircraft crashed into the sea off the eastern coast of Australia during landing last week.

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The reset is expected to begin within the next two weeks, officials said.

“The intent is for flying squadrons to review selected incidents which occurred enterprise-wide and study historical examples of completed investigations in order to bring awareness and best practices to the fleet,” according to a statement from the U.S. Marine Corps.

Aircraft deployed to war zones or other areas could be exempt from the stand down if they have operational requirements, officials said.

This is not an uncommon move. It is viewed as “responsible step” for units to study best practices and procedures, officials said in a statement.

The aircraft, which was in Australia for a joint military training exercise held by the two countries, launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and was conducting regularly-scheduled operations when it crashed into the waters.

Twenty-three of the 26 personnel aboard the Osprey heli-plane were rescued.

Officials deployed resources to search for the remaining service members, but the search-and-rescue was suspended on Sunday and operations have since shifted to a recovery effort.

The Osprey has had a spotty history and was involved in a number of crashes in recent years.

CORRECTION (Aug. 11, 2017, 6:15 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the country where the crash took place. It was in Australia, not Austria

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