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Marine lost at sea after bailing from Osprey aircraft during near-crash

An MV-22 Osprey launches from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in August. Two Marines deployed on the ship bailed 0ut of an Osprey in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday after it experienced power problems, and one of them has not been recovered, Navy officials said. The search for him was unsuccessful and called off Thursday. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Lindahl/Released)
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The Navy said Thursday it had called off a search for a Marine who had jumped from an MV-22 Osprey aircraft over the Persian Gulf after it briefly lost power, and he is now presumed dead.

The Navy had been searching for the Marine, a member of the Osprey’s crew, since the incident occurred Wednesday at 2:10 p.m. He and another member of the crew jumped from the Osprey when it appeared it would crash, but its pilot was able to regain control of it and land aboard the USS Makin Island, an amphibious assault ship, Navy officials said.

One Marine was recovered relatively quickly. The other was not, however, and the Navy and Marine Corps had been searching for him since with ships, aircraft and smaller boats. He has not been identified by the military yet.

Both Marines were members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit of Camp Pendleton, Calif., which is in the Middle East as part of the three-ship, 4,00o-troop Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group. It is expected to be relieved soon by the Bataan ARG, a similar unit, as part of regular troop rotations.

The cause of the problem with the aircraft is unclear. The Marine Corps has been trying to shake off the reputation that the MV-22 is unreliable and difficult to fly after a troubled development history that included numerous deadly crashes.

The Osprey has become a workhorse since then, deploying to Iraq from 2007 to 2009 and to Afghanistan since. It also has been added to President Obama’s fleet of aircraft, Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron One, to fly support missions.