An Australian army helicopter has crashed into waters off Hamilton Island in Queensland during joint military exercises.
Details of the Incident
- Four people were on board the MRH90 helicopter when it went down at about 10.30pm on Friday, the defence minister, Richard Marles, confirmed.
- A search is under way to find the crew, and their families have been notified.
- The aircraft was taking part in Exercise Talisman Sabre, a training operation involving defence forces from Australia, the United States, and other allies.
Reactions and Support
Marles told the media he had a “heavy heart” to be relaying the news. He expressed his hopes for the safety of the aircrew and their families, while acknowledging the seriousness and risks associated with defence exercises.
The chief of Australia’s defence force, Angus Campbell, described the crash as “a terrible moment” and emphasized the current focus on finding the crew and supporting their families and team members.
Brigadier Damian Hill, the exercise director of Exercise Talisman Sabre, announced a pause in the exercises to allow participants to contact their families and inform them about the situation.
At the Ausmin talks in Brisbane on Saturday, Marles thanked the US for helping with the search and rescue. The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, expressed gratitude for the dedication and service of the Australian service members involved in the incident.
A Stark Reminder
The Australian foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, described the crash as a “stark reminder of the risk that the men and women who serve us take and the courage that they show every day in the service of their country”.
Similar Incident in July
Earlier in July, a US army tank was involved in a fiery crash near Rockhampton, leaving six people hospitalized.
As the search and rescue efforts continue, the nation’s thoughts and hopes are with the aircrew and their families. The incident serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those who serve in the military.