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Major update in Hamilton helicopter crash as 4 feared dead are pictured after wreckage found off Whitsundays coast | The Sun

THE FOUR men feared dead after a military helicopter crash in the Australian sea have been named.

The incident happened during Exercise Talisman Sabre – Australia’s largest joint military exercise with the United States.

Captain Daniel Lyon, Lieutenant Maxwell Nugent, Warrant Officer Class Two Joseph Laycock, and Corporal Alexander Naggs were namedas the men involved in the crash, reported.

The crew were members of the Australian Army Aviation’s 6th Aviation Regiment based at the Holsworthy Army barracks in Sydney.

NSW Premier Chris Minns confirmed one of those feared dead was the son of a senior NSW police officer.

Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Stuart, said the men’s names had been released with permission from their families.

“I’m focussed on three things: The first and most pressing is to bring Daniel, Alexander, Joseph and Maxwell home to their families,” he said at the Holsworthy barracks on Sunday.

“The second is to support their families and their mates. And the third is to support the important work of the air safety team as they work out what went wrong and why.”

The MRH 90 Taipan chopper crashed into the ocean off Hamilton island in the Whitsundays with four people on board at about 10.30pm on Friday.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash, and in the meantime, the entire MH-90 Taipan fleet have been grounded until further notice.

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More than 800 personnel across military and emergency services have joined the search and rescue mission, including specialist navy divers.

The teams resumed the search for the crew on Sunday after wreckage was reportedly recovered south of Hamilton Island.

However, it’s feared the crew members are unlikely to still be alive.

Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, explained the large-scale search could be impeded by the conditions in the Whitsundays, which is “renowned for currents”.

“So you do get movement of any debris in the water," he said.

"That is a very important factor that affects search and rescue.

“The waves and the actual conditions at the moment are moderate.

"So there’s some challenge but it’s not insurmountable. It’s not stopping operations.”

He said he was “confident,” the Australian Defence Force was capable of finding the fuselage and “our four mates”.

Deputy prime minister Richard Marles revealed that there was a “very real sense of poignancy and an anxiety” associated with the search and rescue.

“Our thoughts are very much with the aircrew and of course their families,” Mr Marles told troops participating in the Talisman Sabre drills in Townsville on Sunday.

“This accident makes very clear what this exercise means, the dangers that are involved, the risks that inevitably come with it.

“The significance of it all, particularly given the events of Friday night, is made very plain and very clear. We owe all of you an enormous debt of gratitude.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese added the nation’s “thoughts and prayers” were with the families of the missing crewmen, in a statement in Canberra.

Launched in 2005, Talisman Sabre is a joint military exercise between Australia and the US.

But it has expanded to 13 nations this year – involving 30,000 military personnel.

The 14-day drills running until August 4 will test large scale logistics, land combat, amphibious landings and air operations. 

"It's going to be the most significant logistics exercise that we will see between Australia and the United States in Australia since the Second World War," deputy prime minister Richard Marles said last week.

It’s the second time an Australian MH-90 has been involved in an emergency this year after a helicopter ditched into Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast during routine training.

But Lieutenant General Stuart has rejected suggestions the four men should not have flown the Taipan due to known issues with the chopper.

“We’ve understood those issues and we have worked to ensure that we’ve mitigated those risks,” he said.

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