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Australia. Helicopter crash, Taipan crashed, soldiers missing. All attack helicopters grounded

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After a helicopter crash that left four soldiers missing on Friday, the Army has grounded all Taipan helicopters, Australian Army Commander General Simon Stuart said on Sunday. The accident happened near Lindeman Island, off the coast of Queensland, the BBC reported.

The helicopter went down during exercise Talisman Saber, off the coast of the north-eastern state of Queensland, the largest bilateral military maneuver Australia and USA. The missing soldiers aboard the plane have been identified as belonging to the Sixth Air Regiment, based in Sydney.

Black Hawks instead of European helicopters

Before the disaster, Canberra announced it would replace its aging European Taipan helicopters with American Black Hawks. Problems with the helicopters led to repeated groundings of the fleet due to breakdowns and the need for repairs.

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In March, the failure of one of the engines made it necessary to ditch the helicopter off the coast of Nowa South Wales. There were no casualties, but the remaining MRH-90s were not brought back into operation until April.

Taipan HelicopterIllustrative photoEPA/ADF/LSIS James McDougall

Main photo source: EPA/ADF/LSIS James McDougall

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