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Queensland Military Helicopter Crash: Four Feared Dead After MRH90 Goes Down Off Hamilton Island

An Australian army helicopter has crashed into waters off Hamilton Island in Queensland during joint military exercises.

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.

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The aircraft was taking part in Exercise Talisman Sabre, a training operation that involves defence forces from Australia, the United States and other allies.

The bulk of the exercises are being held in regional Queensland.

Marles told the media he had a “heavy heart” to be relaying the news.

“The families of the four aircrew have been notified of this incident and our hopes and our thoughts are very much with the aircrew and their families,” he said. “Our hopes are very much with the efforts of the search and rescue crews as they go about their work right now.

“These are early days and there will be much more information to be provided about this incident but defence exercises, which are so necessary for the readiness of our defence force, are serious.

“They carry risk and, as we desperately hope for better news during the course of this day, we are reminded about the gravity of the act which comes with wearing our nation’s uniform.”

The chief of Australia’s defence force, Angus Campbell, described the crash as “a terrible moment”.

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“Our focus at the moment is finding our people and supporting their families and the rest of our team,” he said.

“I really deeply appreciate the assistance that has been provided by a variety of civil agencies, the Queensland police, the Australian Maritime Safety Agency, and the public as well as our US allies, all of whom have come together to assist and to continue the search and rescue and to find our people.

Brigadier Damian Hill, the exercise director of Exercise Talisman Sabre, said the exercises would be paused “for all participants of Talisman Sabre to enable them all, regardless of their nation, to reach out and let their families know what is going on”.

Earlier in July, a US army tank was caught up in a fiery crash near Rockhampton that left six people in hospital.

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