4 air crew members are missing after an Australian army helicopter ditched off coast

Four aircrew members are missing after an Australian army helicopter performed an emergency landing off the Queensland state coast during joint military exercises with the United States.

Search and Rescue: A search is underway to locate the missing crew, all Australian men, conducted by U.S., Canadian, and Australian personnel.
* Debris believed to be from a helicopter has been recovered.
* The helicopter was participating in the Talisman Sabre, a biennial joint U.S.-Australian military exercise involving 13 nations and more than 30,000 military personnel.

What happened: The MRH-90 Taipan helicopter went down near the Great Barrier Reef tourist resort of Lindeman Island at around 11 p.m. Friday.
* The term “ditched” is used to describe an emergency landing on water.
* It’s the second emergency involving an Australian Taipan this year, with a similar incident involving a Taipan occurring off the New South Wales state coast in March.

Problems with the Taipan: Australia has previously experienced issues with the MRH-90 Taipan model of helicopter.
* Australia is set to stop using the European-built Taipans by December 2024, 13 years earlier than planned, because of reliability issues.
* The Taipans are set to be replaced by 40 U.S. Black Hawks.

Reaction and Tribute: High-ranking U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have paid tribute to the missing aircrew.
* The U.S. officials spoke of the importance of training to high standards and praised the dedication and service of the aircrew.
* Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles thanked the U.S. for their contribution to the search and rescue effort.

View original article on NPR

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