Tokyo, 1 December, 2023 (GNP): In the wake of crash involving an Osprey hybrid aircraft off Yakushima island, Japan’s Ministry of Defense has made an urgent plea to the US military, requesting the suspension of Osprey operations until safety can be fully assured.
The aircraft went down during a routine training mission, prompting Japan to seek assurances on the safety of these planes currently in service.
A Japan’s broadcaster reported that the Ministry of Defense advocated for the grounding of Osprey planes until a comprehensive safety assessment is conducted and their reliability is confirmed.
Following the crash, one crew member has been confirmed dead, while the search for the remaining six individuals onboard is ongoing.
The incident sparked concerns given the history of fatal crashes involving Ospreys since their introduction in 2007.
The aircraft, believed to be en route from Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi prefecture to Kadena base in Okinawa, disappeared from radar on Wednesday afternoon, local time.
The Japanese Coast Guard has reported the recovery of apparent wreckage near the southern coast of Yakushima island. Despite earlier indications of eight individuals onboard, the Coast Guard revised the count to seven.
The US Air Forces Special Operations Command confirmed the mishap involving the Osprey from Yokota Air Base during a routine training mission, yet the cause remains unknown.
This incident comes amid previous Osprey accidents, including one in northern Australia in August this year, resulting in the loss of three US marines. Another crash in 2017 claimed three lives when an Osprey collided with a transport ship during an attempted landing at sea off Australia’s northern coast.