Advertisement

Japan asks U.S. to pause Osprey flights after fatal crash

Japan on Thursday requested that the United States pause flights of Osprey, like the ones seen here, after at least one person died in a crash involving the aircraft on Wednesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Japan on Thursday requested that the United States pause flights of Osprey, like the ones seen here, after at least one person died in a crash involving the aircraft on Wednesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The Japanese military on Thursday asked the Pentagon to ground the Osprey in the country until the hybrid flying vehicle has been proven safe to operate after a crash that killed at least one person on Wednesday.

Japan Defense Minister Minoru Kihara the victim was the first-ever in Japan to die in a crash involving Ospreys, as the cause of the accident remained under investigation on Thursday.

Advertisement

The five remaining crew members onboard the Osprey -- a transport vehicle that takes off and lands like helicopter but flies like an airplane -- remain missing.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masahisa Sato said the United States should ground the Osprey pending an investigation. Sato, a former Ground Self-Defense Force commander, said it could anger local residents if it continues to fly.

"Otherwise, it would have a negative impact on the [Osprey's] deployment in Saga as well as the operation at the Yokota base," Sato said at a government parliamentary meeting.

Despite a call for a pause of Osprey flights, Kihara said the U.S. military made 20 takeoffs and landings of U.S. MV-22 Ospreys on Thursday without incident.

Advertisement

The Wednesday crash took place near the island of Yakushima after a witness reported seeing the aircraft's left engine on fire before it crashed and disappeared from the Coast Guard's radar screen.

The Coast Guard initially said eight crew members were on the aircraft but later revised the number to six.

One person was recovered unconscious and not breathing and was later confirmed dead.

The U.S. Air Force grounded its Ospreys for a month in August of 2022 due to safety concerns over a malfunctioning clutch inside a gearbox connecting the engine to the propeller rotor in 2022.

Latest Headlines