Three US Marines who died following the ditching into waters off the Australian east coast by a U.S. military aircraft on Saturday have been identified by the Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps Butler, from the Okinawa base camp, said the three deceased officers are Captain Nathaniel Ordway, 21, 1st Lieutenant Benjamin Cross, 26, and Pfc. Velasco Reuben, 19.

Lt. Christina Metzler, spokeswoman for the Marine Expeditionary Unit said the three officers were confirmed dead after a thorough search and rescue operation at the site of the crash, approximately 18 miles off the coast of Bay Area in Queensland, Australia.

Condolences for the dead Marines

The Commanding officer of 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Colonel Tye Wallace told reporters that the loss of any Marine is deeply felt throughout the Marine Corps as a family.

Wallace said the dead Marines left a legacy to the entire Marine Corps Family, and the world at large. He added that they will forever in the memory of every Marine.

Before they were identified, the Australian Navy had reported that the US MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that crashed and went missing off the coast of Queensland, and this was confirmed in a statement from the Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.

The Corp stated that 23 out of the 26 personnel that were on the aircraft were successfully rescued.

Search and rescue efforts

The U.S. military said the aircraft and boats searched thoroughly in the waters off the coast of Australia without success for the three Marines who were missing. After a fruitless effort, the search operation off the east coast of Australia was called off early on Sunday.

The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in collaboration with Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Group deployed small aircraft and boats and carried out the search, the US Marine Corps stated.

The US military said the families of the deceased Marines have been informed. However, family members told reporters that their loss was irreparable and disheartening.

Cross graduated from the Virginia Military Institute on a scholarship sponsored by the Naval ROTC. He was a pilot of V-22 class from Bethel, Marine, the statement said.

The military operations were a follow-up to combine training between Australian and American troops that ended last week.

The Australian Defense Ministry said the joint military operation was conducted in Shoalwater Bay and about 30,000 Australian and American military personnel were involved in the exercise.