OAN’s James Meyers
8:37 AM – Wednesday, November 29, 2023
At least one crew member has died after a U.S. military Osprey aircraft with at least six people on board crashed into the sea near an island off southern Japan, according to multiple reports.
The cause of the crash that took place Wednesday morning and the status of the others on board were not immediately known, coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa said.
A Japan coast guard official said that two helicopters and six boats were involved in the search operation.
According to a U.S. official, the Osprey was carrying eight crew members and is an Air Force aircraft. While the Marine Corps flies most of the Osprey that are based in Japan, the Air Force also has Ospreys deployed there.
The coast guard did confirm that one man was recovered from the sea “unconscious and was not breathing” almost two miles from Anbo Port, which is near the accident site on the eastern side of Yakushima, by a boat from the Yakushima Town Rescue Center. The crew member was later pronounced dead.
No immediate details were released on the status of the aircraft or the rest of those on board.
Additionally, Japanese national broadcaster NHK aired video from a helicopter on site showing a coast guard vessel with one orange inflatable life raft seen on the water with nobody in it.
NHK reported that an eyewitness claimed they saw the aircraft’s left engine on fire before it went down close to 600 miles southwest of Tokyo.
Furthermore, the Kagoshima regional government said later that the Osprey had been flying alongside another Osprey, which was able to land safely on Yakushima island.
The Osprey that crashed was posted at Yokota Air Force Base outside Tokyo, NHK reported, but it also reported the aircraft departed Wednesday from a U.S. air station Iwakuni to fly to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa.
This becomes the latest Osprey crash over recent years, after an Osprey crashed during a multinational training exercise on an Australian island in August, which killed three U.S. Marines. Five more U.S. Marines on board another Osprey died after it crashed in a Southern California desert in June, 2022.
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