US military transport plane crashes in the sea off Kyushu, Japan… Wreck found, fate of 8 people unclear

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Reports of sighting of flames in the left engine of the Osprey before the crash.
Coast Guard confirms estimated aircraft wreckage around the accident

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported on the 29th that there was information that the US military transport aircraft Osprey had crashed in the waters off Yakushima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, southern Kyushu, Japan, and that the 10th Regional Maritime Security Headquarters was sending patrol boats and aircraft to the area around the site.

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According to the 10th Regional Maritime Security Headquarters, the transport plane Osprey crashed in the waters off Yakushima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, at around 2:47 pm on this day. The transport aircraft in question was known to be a CV-22 Osprey belonging to the U.S. military’s Yokota Base in Tokyo.

There were eight US soldiers aboard the Osprey at the time of the crash, but details such as whether there were any injuries have not been confirmed. According to the Coast Guard, a helicopter that left to search confirmed an object resembling aircraft wreckage in the sky, but no human beings were found.

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According to Kagoshima Prefecture, at 2:37 p.m. on this day, the police received a report that the Osprey had landed on the coast near Yakushima Airport with the left engine on fire.

NHK, citing a Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism official, reported that the Osprey departed from the U.S. military’s Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture and was heading to the U.S. military’s Kadena base in Okinawa Prefecture.

The Associated Press reported that it was not immediately confirmed which U.S. military base the Osprey belonged to, but it was believed to be heading from Iwakuni to Okinawa.

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but it can fly much faster like an airplane by rotating the propeller forward during flight. Osprey transport aircraft are operated by the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force.

Also, according to a Ministry of Defense official, NHK reported that there is information that the Osprey was flying from Iwakuni Base to Kadena Base when it changed its destination to Yakushima and crashed while heading to Yakushima Airport.

According to the 10th Regional Maritime Security Headquarters, the location where the Osprey accident occurred is about 1km east of Yakushima Airport.

At the time of the accident, the area around Yakushima Island was mostly clear and the wind speed was weak at 1.9 meters per second as of 2:30 p.m., so no advisories or warnings were in effect at the time.

Accidents involving the US military transport aircraft Osprey in Japan have been frequent in the past.

According to NHK, in December 2016, it crash-landed in a shallow shoal near a village in Nago City, Okinawa and was severely damaged. In November 2021, a water bottle fell from an aircraft that took off from Futenma Airfield, a U.S. military base, on a residential site in Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture. Although no one was injured, residents expressed anxiety and anger. In September of this year, two Ospreys made an emergency landing at Shinigaki Airport in Ishigaki City.

According to the AP, a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey with 23 people on board crashed on a northern Australian island in August, killing at least three people and seriously injuring at least five others during a multinational training exercise.

Source: Donga

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