TOKYO-A US Osprey military aircraft crashed on Wednesday off a Japanese island, killing one crew member and leaving five unaccounted for, the coastguard said, in the latest incident involving the tilt-rotor military aircraft.
One unconscious person had been found in the sea near the scene of the crash off the island of Yakushima but was later “confirmed dead in hospital”, the coastguard said in a statement. It also revised downwards an earlier statement to say that six crew had been on board instead of eight. An emergency management official in the Kagoshima region where the crash took place said police had received information that the aircraft had been “spewing fire from a left engine”. The US military in Japan, where it has around 54,000 personnel, was not immediately available for comment.
The coastguard said it has mobilised patrol ships and aircraft around Yakushima, which lies south of Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu. Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that the Osprey was on its way from the Iwakuni US base near Hiroshima in the Yamaguchi region headed for the Kadena base further south in Okinawa. NHK also cited defence ministry sources as saying that the aircraft was a CV-22 Osprey belonging to the US Yokota air base in Tokyo. Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said Japan was “aware of information that the US military’s Osprey fell out of radar (contact)” near Yakushima Island.