Japan suspends Osprey flights after fatal U.S. Air Force crash

November 30, 2023
46 Views



TOKYO — Japan is grounding flights of its Osprey military aircraft, officials said Thursday, a day after an Osprey plane belonging to the U.S. Air Force crashed off the Japanese coast, killing at least one crew member and leaving seven others missing.

With the exception of the ongoing search and rescue mission, U.S. forces based in Japan have also been asked to suspend all Osprey flights until “they have confirmed the flight-related safety of these aircrafts,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, the Japanese government’s top spokesperson, told a news conference.

Osprey flights by Japanese forces will be suspended “until the circumstances surrounding the accident become clear,” Matsuno said, adding that search and rescue efforts by Japanese forces had continued through the night.

The U.S. Osprey was on a routine training mission Wednesday when it crashed into the ocean near Yakushima, an island about 45 miles south of the Kagoshima region on the southern main island of Kyushu. An unidentified crew member was pronounced dead after being found near the accident site unconscious and not breathing.

The crew member’s body was handed over to U.S. military personnel on Thursday, Japanese officials said.

The cause of the crash and the status of the other crew members remain unknown.

Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, said Thursday that the focus was on search and rescue efforts.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Japanese Coast Guard, Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and local community and fishermen who are assisting in the search for the crew,” he said in a post on X.

In addition to searches by patrol boats and aircraft, the Japanese Coast Guard is searching underwater for the missing crew members using a device called “side scan sonar” that is towed by a patrol boat and captures images of the ocean floor, where the aircraft might have sunk. 

“Currently there are no new leads,” the 10th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Kagoshima Prefecture said in a statement Thursday.

The CV-22B Osprey is based at Yokota Air Base and assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing, according to the Air Force Special Operations Command.

The Osprey is an American hybrid aircraft that takes off, lands and hovers like a helicopter, but during flight can rotate its propellers to achieve a much higher speed during flight like a conventional airplane.

The planes have been involved in a number of accidents in recent years including in Japan, where they are used at Japanese as well as U.S. military bases, raising safety concerns. In August, an Osprey with 23 U.S. Marines on board crashed in Australia during a routine training exercise, killing the pilot and two others.

Japan became the first foreign country to own and operate the aircraft in 2020. 

After the U.S. Osprey crash was reported Wednesday afternoon, the Japanese Coast Guard immediately deployed patrol vessels and aircraft to the scene. Rescuers found “wreckage-like debris” and an overturned life raft, the coast guard said, but no people inside it.

Arata Yamamoto reported from Tokyo, and Mithil Aggarwal reported from Hong Kong.





Spread the love

You may be interested

Trader Joe’s pulls fresh basil from shelves in 29 states after salmonella outbreak
Health
shares2 views
Health
shares2 views

Trader Joe’s pulls fresh basil from shelves in 29 states after salmonella outbreak

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 18, 2024

[ad_1] Is this tote bag the new Stanley mug? Is this tote bag the new Stanley mug? 01:45 Trader Joe's…

Biden imposes new sanctions on Iran after drone and missile attack on Israel
World
shares2 views
World
shares2 views

Biden imposes new sanctions on Iran after drone and missile attack on Israel

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 18, 2024

[ad_1] The Biden administration on Thursday announced new sanctions on Iran targeting its missile and drone program after its attack…

NFL star Travis Kelce: Taylor Swift’s boyfriend lands presenting role on celebrity spin-off of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? | Ents & Arts News
Entertainment
shares2 views
Entertainment
shares2 views

NFL star Travis Kelce: Taylor Swift’s boyfriend lands presenting role on celebrity spin-off of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? | Ents & Arts News

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 18, 2024

[ad_1] Travis Kelce has landed his first TV presenting role - hosting the game show Are You Smarter Than A…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.