US Osprey Crash-Lands off Okinawa; Flight Suspension Sought (News)
Tokyo, Dec. 14 (Jiji Press)—An MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft of the US Marine Corps crash-landed in waters just off Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan, on Tuesday night, leading the Japanese government to seek the suspension of Osprey flights.
The first serious Osprey accident in Japan happened around 9:30 pm. The aircraft was damaged heavily in the accident.
The crash-landing occurred at a shallow point about 1 kilometer east from the coast in the city of Nago, which is located in the main island of Okinawa.
All five crew members of the Osprey were rescued by US military helicopters. Two of them suffered injuries and were sent to a US Navy hospital, officials of the Okinawa prefectural police department said.
The plane is one of the 24 MV-22 Ospreys deployed at the Marine Corps' Futenma air station in the city of Ginowan in Okinawa.
U.S. Vows Thorough Probe into Osprey Crash-Landing off Okinawa
Washington, Dec. 13 (Jiji Press)—The United States will open a formal, thorough investigation into an MV-22 Osprey aircraft's crash-landing off Japan's Okinawa Prefecture on Tuesday night local time, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the same day.
"We will absolutely get to the bottom of the cause of it and ensure we learn from it so it doesn't happen again," Davis told reporters.
According to him, the tilt-rotor transporter landed in shallow water off the coastline of Camp Schwab in Nago, where the Japanese government plans to build a replacement facility for the Marine Corps' Futenma air base, also in Okinawa, in line with an agreement with the US government.
The incident will likely fuel anti-Osprey sentiment among residents around US bases in Japan, observers said.
Emphasizing the significance of the Osprey, however, Davis said the new-type aircraft provides an "important military capability" and "contributes to the security of Japan and the region."[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]