Home News Osprey struck Navy ship Bonhomme Richard before crashing and killing 3

Osprey struck Navy ship Bonhomme Richard before crashing and killing 3

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An MV-22 Osprey assigned Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 prepares to land on the flight deck of the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima. Photo: USMC

NORFOLK — The MV-22 Osprey aircraft that crashed Saturday off the coast of Australia, killing three , struck the flight deck of a ship before falling into the water, according to  documents.

The Osprey was making its final approach toward the amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay off Australia’s east coast in Shoalwater Bay at the time,  records show.

The  have said the Osprey launched from the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, and that ship’s smaller boats and aircraft immediately responded in the search-and-rescue efforts where 23 survivors were picked up.

Amphibious transport docks have significantly smaller flight decks than amphibious assault ships and can only support aircraft that can take off and land vertically, such as the Osprey.

Preliminary details about the daytime crash were reported to the Norfolk-based Naval Safety Center. An investigation into what caused the crash is underway.

The USS Green Bay is the amphibious transport dock assigned to the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group.  photographs show the ship participating in search-and-rescue efforts in the Coral Sea following the crash. The  says amphibious transport docks are considered “secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups.”

The Osprey was assigned to a  squadron based in Japan, and the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group also is home-ported there. The aircraft and ships were on a regularly scheduled deployment at the time and had recently visited a port in Australia following an exercise with the Australian .

The  on Monday identified the three men who died in the crash: pilot 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine; crew chief Cpl. Nathaniel F. Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas; and Pfc. Ruben P. Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles, a field artillery fire control .

“The loss of every  is felt across our entire  Corps family. The families of the brave  we lost — there is no way for us to understand what you are going through,” Col. Tye R. Wallace, commanding  of the 31st  Expeditionary Unit, said in a statement.

“What we do know is that your  left a lasting impression on the 31st MEU, the  Corps, and the world. They will live on forever in our thoughts and our hearts.”

The Osprey’s wreckage was found by the Royal Australian  and a salvage operation is underway that could take months.

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(c)2017 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) — pilotonline.com

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