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Australia's defense minister Richard Marles. File photo: IAN WALDIE/BLOOMBERG
Australia's defense minister Richard Marles. File photo: IAN WALDIE/BLOOMBERG

Sydney — Australia’s defence minister said on Monday there was little hope of finding the four aircrew aboard a military helicopter alive, after it crashed into the sea off Queensland state.

The MRH-90 helicopter was taking part in Talisman Sabre military exercises between the US and Australia when it came down in waters close to Hamilton Island, about 890km north of Brisbane, late on Friday.

“There was a catastrophic incident and with every passing hour, it is now clear that any hope of finding [the soldiers] has been lost,” defence minister Richard Marles said during a media briefing.

Marles said the rescue operation involving hundreds of military personnel had found “significant wreckage” from the helicopter. The MRH-90 fleet would be grounded until the investigation into the crash was finished, he said.

Defence Force chief Angus Campbell said recovering the bodies of the four aircrew would not be easy due to strong currents but the operation was continuing.

“We’re going to do everything possible to bring our mates home to their families,” he said.

Australian Defence on Sunday named the missing soldiers as Capt Daniel Lyon, Lt Maxwell Nugent, WO-2 Joseph Laycock and Cpl Alexander Naggs.

Reuters

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