A U.S. military Osprey aircraft crashed near the coast of Japan on Wednesday, resulting in at least one fatality, as reported by the Japan Coast Guard. The crash occurred around 2:47 p.m. local time near Yakushima Island, located about 45 miles south of Kyushu, Japan’s southern main island.
The aircraft, identified as a CV-22 Osprey, was carrying six people when it went down. Following the crash, the 10th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Japan dispatched a patrol boat and aircraft to the scene. One man was found “unconscious and not breathing” near the crash site, according to coast guard officials. Despite efforts to revive him with CPR, he was pronounced dead after being transported to Anbo Port, almost two miles from the crash site. The condition and whereabouts of the remaining five crew members have not been disclosed.
Japan’s Vice Defense Minister Hiroyuki Miyazawa referred to the incident as an “emergency water landing” and noted that the U.S. authorities indicated the pilot made significant efforts to control the situation, CNN reported.
The CV-22 Osprey is known for its unique capabilities, including vertical takeoff and landing like a helicopter and long-range flight like a turboprop aircraft. Its rotors can rotate 90 degrees after takeoff, allowing it to operate as a plane during flight.
This incident adds to a series of recent tragedies involving Osprey aircraft in the U.S. military. In August, an MV-22B Osprey crash on an Australian island led to the deaths of three Marines and several injuries. June 2022 saw the loss of five Marines in California when their MV-22B Osprey crashed near the U.S./Mexico border. Additionally, four Marines died in Norway earlier that year during a NATO training exercise when their MV-22B Osprey went down in the Arctic Circle.
The series of accidents involving Osprey aircraft raises concerns about the safety and operational challenges of these hybrid aircraft. The crash near Japan’s coast is currently under investigation, with further details awaited on the cause and the status of the other crew members.