Another Osprey Has Gone Down, This Time Off Japan

At least one is dead, 5 missing after US military aircraft crashes near Yakushima Island
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2023 6:11 AM CST
One Dead After US Osprey Crashes Off Japan
A Japanese coast guard vessel conducts a search and rescue operation around the site where a US military Osprey aircraft was believed to have crashed in the sea off Yakushima Island on Wednesday.   (Kyodo News via AP)

A US Osprey has crashed off the coast of Japan, killing at least one of the six people on board. Per CNN, the Japanese coast guard first received word of the aircraft's accident, which took place near Yakushima Island in the southern Kagoshima prefecture, shortly before 3pm local time on Wednesday. Witnesses say that fire could be seen coming out of the aircraft's left engine as it plummeted from the sky, reports Reuters.

Both Japanese and US officials tell the AP that the aircraft belongs to Yokota Air Base in Tokyo. That detail has yet to be confirmed by the US Air Force. Japanese Vice Defense Minister Hiroyuki Miyazawa said the Osprey—an aircraft that can take off vertically like a helicopter, then rotate its propellers forward and fly faster like an airplane—had tried to make an emergency sea landing.

In addition to the one crew member recovered from the water and pronounced dead, coast guard searchers found an inflatable life raft nearby, as well as debris thought to be from the crash. "The government will confirm information about the damage and place the highest priority on saving lives," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. Multiple fatal accidents with Ospreys have been logged over the years, including as recently as this August, when one with 23 US Marines crashed off the coast of Australia, killing three and seriously injuring several others. (More Osprey stories.)

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