(MENAFN) In a devastating incident off Yakushima Island in southwestern Japan, a V-22 Osprey aircraft belonging to the United States military crashed on Wednesday, resulting in at least one fatality and several injuries. The tilt-rotor aircraft, assigned to the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, vanished from radar screens while en route to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. This tragic event marks the latest in a series of accidents involving the V-22 Osprey.
According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, the Japanese Coast Guard received a distress call just moments before the Osprey crashed into the sea, several hundred kilometers north of Okinawa. Among the six individuals aboard, one was found dead at the crash site, and three others were reportedly discovered by local fishermen in an unknown condition.
Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki expressed deep concern over the incident, announcing his intention to seek the suspension of all United States Osprey flights in Japan "until the cause of the accident is identified." Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a close ally of Washington, refrained from immediately advocating for a grounding, emphasizing the need for a thorough investigation into the crash.
The V-22 Osprey, in service since 2007, is a vertical-take-off aircraft capable of tilting its twin rotors forward for conventional turboprop plane flight. It has been associated with a history of accidents, and the recent crash raises questions about the safety of the aircraft. Notably, the United States and Japanese militaries are the sole operators of the V-22 Osprey globally.
As investigations unfold to determine the cause of the crash, the incident prompts a reevaluation of the safety protocols and operational considerations surrounding the V-22 Osprey. The tragedy underscores the potential risks associated with military aircraft operations and the importance of ensuring the safety of both military personnel and civilians in the regions where such aircraft operate.
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