U.S. Osprey Crash, Three Reportedly Found, Three Still Missing

At approximately 0140 EST, local Japanese media made the first reports that a U.S. Air Force Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed off the coast of Yakushima, Kagoshima, Japan with eight members on board. However, by 0300 EST, the Japanese government confirmed that six members were on board. The Japanese Defense Minister also said that the aircraft was a U.S. Navy CV-22 Osprey. At this time it is not clear if it was an Air Force or Navy aircraft as the U.S. government has not made a public statement, despite the Japanese government request to do so.

By 0245 EST, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno made the first official Japanese government announcement that several aircraft and naval vessels were deployed to search for the crew and that saving lives was the top priority. The Japanese Coast Guard then published a series of updates:

0247 EST: Remains of an Osprey were located approximately 1km east of Yakushima Island in water at a depth of 30 meters.

0250 EST: Three Ospreys were scheduled to fly from U.S. Iwakuni base to Kadena base and that the weather near the crash site was clear. This fact was confirmed by anonymous U.S. officials by 0330 EST.

Japanese local media reported that the left engine of the Osprey was seen in flames before the water landing/crash and that by 0330 EST, a person had been found unconscious in the water. By 0335 EST, that person was reportedly dead. A man who witnessed the incident said, “Suddenly, the aircraft flipped over and fell head over heels. It caught fire, exploded, and fell vertically into the sea.”

Okinawa, Japan’s Governor Tamaki ordered a halt to Osprey flights throughout the prefecture as a response to the crash at 0400 EST. By then, the other two Ospreys in the flight had reportedly landed at Kadena. The Saga, Japan Ground Self Defense Forces Metabaru Garrison suspended their planned Osprey training flight on November 30th and are considering cancelling their December 3rd Garrison Opening Even which included Osprey flights.

As of this publication three people have been found, of which one has been confirmed dead. Wreckage has been recovered and the status of three U.S. service members has not been reported on. This is developing.

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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