Japan Demands U.S. Ground Osprey Flights Following Latest V-22 Crash

One crew member died in the Osprey accident on November 29. 2023
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 09:17 AM, November 30, 2023
  • 466
Japan Demands U.S. Ground Osprey Flights Following Latest V-22 Crash
CV-22 Osprey aircraft

In the wake of a tragic Osprey aircraft crash off Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan has formally requested the United States to halt all Osprey flights until the safety of the aircraft is assured.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara announced this on Thursday, emphasizing the need for a thorough safety reassessment.

The incident occurred at approximately 2:40 p.m. on Wednesday when a CV-22B Osprey, based at the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, crashed into the sea. The aircraft was on a routine training mission, carrying eight crew members. Regrettably, one crew member, a man, was found several kilometers from the crash site and confirmed dead. This marks the first fatality in Japan involving an Osprey.

As of now, the cause of the crash remains unknown, with the U.S. Air Force describing it as an "aircraft mishap." The initial explanation provided to the Japanese government as an "unplanned landing" was later revised to a "crash," according to Defense Minister Kihara.

Related news:- Bell-Boeing Osprey: Accident Prone?

Japan's concern over Osprey safety has prompted the government to call for the suspension of Osprey flights, particularly at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture. Local residents have expressed their apprehension, urging the U.S. to address safety issues promptly.

During a parliamentary session, Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masahisa Sato, a former Ground Self-Defense Force commander, stressed the importance of grounding Ospreys to prevent further distress among local residents. Sato warned of potential negative repercussions on the planned Osprey deployment in Saga and operations at the Yokota base if action is not taken.

In response to the crash, the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard have launched a continuous search and rescue mission. The Defense Ministry has confirmed 14 Osprey takeoffs and landings at the Futenma base since the incident.

Despite the tragic event, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno asserted that there are currently no plans to alter the deployment strategy, as the Ground Self-Defense Forces intend to deploy 17 Ospreys to Saga Airport by July 2025.

The incident has reignited concerns surrounding Osprey safety, given the aircraft's track record of accidents both in Japan and abroad. Fishermen who witnessed the crash reported the aircraft rotating before plummeting into the sea, leaving debris and a strong smell of fuel in its wake.

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