A U.S. military Osprey aircraft with eight personnel aboard crashed into the sea near Japan’s Yakushima Island on Wednesday morning. It is the latest in a string of accidents involving the tilt-rotor transport.
The coastguard said it has mobilised patrol ships and aircraft around the island which lies south of Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu.
Japanese broadcaster NHK said the tilt rotor CV-22 Osprey transport was trying to land at Yakushima Airport. The plane’s left engine was on fire, it added.
The aircraft was thought to be heading from Iwakuni base in the Yamaguchi region to Kadena base in Okinawa before diverting.
The Osprey, developed by Bell Helicopters and Boeing, can serve as a helicopter and a turboprop aircraft and has been involved in a series of mishaps since being introduced.
In August, another Osprey crashed in northern Australia during a military exercise for locally based troops, killing three U.S. marines among the 23 on board, as Breitbart News reported.
AFP details a string of other deadly crashes preceded that accident.
Four U.S. Marines were killed in Norway last year when their MV-22B Osprey aircraft went down during NATO training exercises.
Three Marines were killed in 2017 when an Osprey crashed after clipping the back of a transport ship while trying to land at sea off Australia’s north coast.
In 2016, an MV-22 Osprey crash-landed off Okinawa, prompting the U.S. Marines to temporarily ground the aircraft in Japan after the accident sparked anger among locals.
And 19 Marines died in 2000 when their Osprey crashed during drills in Arizona.
More to come…