Australia says ‘hope lost’ for finding missing soldiers alive

Australia says ‘hope lost’ for finding missing soldiers alive

4 soldiers went missing off Australia’s northeastern coast after army helicopter crash

ISTANBUL (AA) – Australia said Monday that any hope of finding the four soldiers who went missing after a helicopter crash was lost.

“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told parliament, according to a tweet shared from his official account.

It has “been a very difficult weekend for our nation,” he added.

The Australian military personnel -- Capt. Danniel Lyon, Lt. Maxwell Nugent, Warrant Officer Joseph Laycock and Corporal Alexander Naggs -- were declared missing after an army helicopter crashed off the country's northeastern coast.

“I know that every member of [Parliament] House, along with every Australian, is thinking of the families of [the missing crew],” he added.

In a separate tweet, Defense Minister Richard Marles said the search efforts have “revealed significant wreckage from the helicopter,” calling the incident “catastrophic.”

“With every passing hour, it is now clear that any hope of finding” the missing soldiers “has been lost,” he said.

Marles added that the search and rescue mission has now been turned into a recovery one.

The country's Defense Ministry had said an Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopter crashed near Lindeman Island, off the Queensland coast.

The helicopter was participating in night-time training activities as part of the ongoing Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 with the US when it was reported missing late Friday night.

Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023, Australia's largest military exercise with the US, involving some 30,000 military personnel from 13 nations, kicked off on July 22 and will continue until Aug. 4.​​​​​​​

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