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U.S. grounds MV-22 Ospreys in Japan after Okinawa crash

By
Andrew V. Pestano
Debris of an Osprey aircraft can be seen after it crash landed in the sea on December 13 off the coast of Nago, Okinawa Island, southwestern Japan. According to reports, the crew members were reportedly being treated at a U.S. Naval Hospital with unspecified injuries. The Japanese government has since asked U.S. forces to ground all Osprey tilt-rotor military aircrafts Photo by Hitoshi MAeshiro/European Pressphoto Agency
Debris of an Osprey aircraft can be seen after it crash landed in the sea on December 13 off the coast of Nago, Okinawa Island, southwestern Japan. According to reports, the crew members were reportedly being treated at a U.S. Naval Hospital with unspecified injuries. The Japanese government has since asked U.S. forces to ground all Osprey tilt-rotor military aircrafts Photo by Hitoshi MAeshiro/European Pressphoto Agency

OKINAWA, Japan, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The III Marine Expeditionary Force on Thursday said MV-22 Osprey operations are suspended in Japan after a crash off the coast of Okinawa.

Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, said the MV-22 Osprey's rotor blade struck a refueling line while conducting an aerial refueling operation.

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"After the aircraft was unhooking, it was shaking violently," Nicholson said during a press conference on Wednesday. "The pilot made a decision to not fly over Okinawan homes and families. He made a conscious decision to try to reach Camp Schwab ... and land in the shallow water to protect his crew and the people of Okinawa."

Nicholson said two crew members were hospitalized.

Nicholson said he made the decision to temporarily halt MV-22 Osprey operations under U.S. Marine Forces Japan until he is "satisfied that we have reviewed our checklists and safety of flight procedures."

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