Aircraft With 6 Aboard Crashes Off Southern Japan, at least one person has died and the status of the remaining five passengers on the plane was not immediately known.
Aircraft With 6 Aboard Crashes Off Southern Japan
A crew member who was pulled from the sea after a US military Osprey plane carrying six people crashed Wednesday off the coast of southern Japan has been confirmed dead, according to coast guard officials.
The cause of the crash and the status of the five other passengers on board were not immediately known, according to coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa. The aircraft was initially reported to be carrying eight individuals, but the US military later lowered the number to six, he claimed.
According to him, the coast guard received an emergency call from a fishing boat near the crash scene off Yakushima, an island south of Kagoshima on Kyushu’s southern main island.
As reported by Ogawa, Coast Guard aircraft and patrol boats discovered one individual, who was subsequently pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, and gray-colored debris thought to be from the aircraft. They were discovered less than a mile off the shore of Yakushima. An empty inflatable life raft was also discovered nearby.
“The government will confirm information about the damage and place the highest priority on saving lives,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno to reporters.
The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster like an aeroplane during flight. The aircraft is used by the United States Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force.
According to Ogawa, the aircraft took off from the US Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture and crashed on its route to Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base.
Hiroyuki Miyazawa, Japan’s Vice Defence Minister, stated that the Osprey attempted an emergency sea landing.
According to Kyodo News, which cited Kagoshima prefectural officials, witnesses saw fire coming from the Osprey’s left engine.
It was reported that a Japanese military base in Saga, southern Japan, chose to postpone planned Osprey air drills on Thursday.
the information provided by US and Japanese officials, the aircraft belonged to Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. Officials from the United States Air Force at Yokota said they were still confirming information and had no immediate reaction.
Ospreys have been involved in a number of mishaps in the past, especially in Japan, where they are stationed at both US and Japanese military sites. Gov. Denny Tamaki of Okinawa, where almost half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed, told reporters Wednesday that he will request that all Osprey flights in Japan be cancelled.
In December 2016, a US Marine Corps Osprey crashed off the shore of Okinawa, injuring two of the five crew members and sparking local residents’ concerns about US bases and the Osprey’s safety record.
During a multinational training exercise, a US Marine Corps Osprey carrying 23 Marines crashed on a north Australian island in August, killing at least three and badly injuring at least five.
It was the fifth fatal Marine Osprey crash since 2012, bringing the total death toll to at least 19.