3 U.S. Marines missing after aircraft 'mishap' off Australia

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(CNN) — U.S. military aircraft and boats scoured waters off Australia's east coast Saturday for three Marines involved in what the Marines Corps calls a "mishap" with an MV-22 aircraft.

Twenty-three of the 26 personnel on board were rescued, the U.S. Marine Corps said.

The search for the missing three was called off early Sunday, a U.S. military official told CNN.

The families of the missing Marines have been notified, the source said.

A salvage operation to retrieve the aircraft will begin in the next several days.

Small boats and aircraft from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group searched for the missing, the Marine Corps said.

The U.S. military has been in the area for training exercises with the Australian military. The MV-22 is a vertical-launch aircraft, also known as an Osprey.

"The aircraft involved in the mishap had launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard (a Navy amphibious assault ship) and was conducting regularly scheduled operations when the aircraft entered the water," the Marine Corps said in a statement.

Crew on board the Bonhomme Richard were performing water training exercises Saturday, according to the ship's Facebook page. The exercises were a followup to joint military training between U.S. and Australian forces that wrapped up last week.

Marine authorities are investigating the incident. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has briefed President Donald Trump on the situation, a White House spokesman said.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also been made aware of the operation in Shoalwater Bay. Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said in a statement she had spoken to U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis to offer Australia's support in "any way that can be of assistance."

Australian authorities said no Australian personnel were on board.

The recent joint military exercise took place largely in Shoalwater Bay and involved more than 30,000 U.S. and Australian personnel, according to Australian Defense Department.

This story wsa first published on CNN.com, "3 Marines missing after aircraft 'mishap' off Australia."