TOKYO — A crew member who was recovered from the ocean after a U.S. army Osprey plane carrying six individuals crashed Wednesday off southern Japan has been pronounced lifeless, coast guard officers mentioned.
The reason for the crash and the standing of the 5 others on board weren’t instantly recognized, coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa mentioned. Preliminary stories mentioned the plane was carrying eight individuals, however the U.S. army later revised the quantity to 6, he mentioned.
The coast guard acquired an emergency name from a fishing boat close to the crash web site off Yakushima, an island south of Kagoshima on the southern fundamental island of Kyushu, he mentioned.
Coast guard plane and patrol boats discovered one particular person, who was later pronounced lifeless at a close-by hospital, and gray-colored particles believed to be from the plane, Ogawa mentioned. The sufferer was solely recognized as a male. They had been discovered about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) off the jap coast of Yakushima. An empty inflatable life raft was additionally discovered within the space.
The Osprey is a hybrid plane that takes off and lands like a helicopter, however throughout flight can rotate its propellers ahead and cruise a lot quicker like an airplane. Variations of the plane are flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy and Air Drive.
Chief Cupboard Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno mentioned the Osprey disappeared from radar at midafternoon, a couple of minutes earlier than the coast guard acquired the emergency name. The plane requested an emergency touchdown on the Yakushima airport about 5 minutes earlier than it was misplaced from radar, NHK public tv and different media reported.
NHK quoted a Yakushima resident as saying he noticed the plane turned the wrong way up, with hearth coming from certainly one of its engines, after which an explosion earlier than it fell to the ocean.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida mentioned he deliberate to hunt an additional rationalization from the U.S. army, however declined to say whether or not he would search a brief suspension of Osprey operations in Japan.
Ospreys have had quite a lot of accidents prior to now, together with in Japan, the place they’re deployed at each U.S. and Japanese army bases. In Okinawa, the place about half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are based mostly, Gov. Denny Tamaki instructed reporters Wednesday that he’ll ask the U.S. army to droop all Osprey flights in Japan.
Ogawa mentioned the plane had departed from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture and crashed on its method to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa.
Japanese Vice Protection Minister Hiroyuki Miyazawa mentioned it had tried an emergency sea touchdown and quoted the U.S. army as saying its pilot “did every part attainable till the final minute.”
U.S. and Japanese officers mentioned the plane belonged to Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. U.S. Air Drive officers at Yokota mentioned they had been nonetheless confirming data and had no instant remark.
In December 2016, a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey crashed off the Okinawa coast, injuring two of the 5 crew members and triggering complaints amongst native residents concerning the U.S. bases and the Osprey’s security report.
A U.S. Marine Corps Osprey with 23 Marines aboard crashed on a north Australian island in August, killing no less than three and critically injuring no less than 5 throughout a multinational coaching train.
It was the fifth deadly crash of a Marine Osprey since 2012, bringing the loss of life toll at the moment to no less than 19.