SYDNEY, Australia (CBSMiami) – Family members have now identified two of the three Marines missing after an Osprey aircraft crashed Saturday off the coast of Australia. The Australian Navy found the sunken blend of a helicopter and plane overnight.
“It’s been a rough couple of days,” said Robert Cross, father of 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross, who said his 26-year-old son was a skilled and dedicated pilot.
His brother Ryan called him “an amazing, amazing individual.”
His mother, Valerie, in mourning, “We have so many awesome memories but to know we will never make any more with him is unbearable.”
Lt. Cross and Corporal Nathan Ordway have been identified by family members as two of the three missing U.S. Marines.
An Osprey aircraft was carrying 26 marines as it attempted to land aboard the amphibious transport ship, the U.S.S. Green Bay. Something then caused the Osprey to plunge into the water about 30 miles off the east coast of Australia.
The Pentagon has not yet identified the third missing Marine. All three men are presumed dead. 23 others were rescued.
The Marines had just wrapped up a major exercise with Australian forces and on Saturday were conducting training of their own when the accident happened.
The Osprey sank to the bottom and it will now take a major salvage operation to recover it.
The Osprey has been controversial because of accidents that have happened during its production and deployment but Lt. Cross’ father says his son thought the aircraft was unfairly maligned and that he really enjoyed flying it.