Disasters & Accidents

Japan urges US to confirm Osprey aircraft’s safety after accident

Tokyo, Nov 30 (EFE).- Japan urged the United States to confirm Thursday the safety of its Osprey military plane, a day after one of its aircraft crashed in the waters of southern Japan with eight crew members.

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara made this comment during a session of Japan’s parliament, where he also said the aircraft would remain grounded for the time being.

“We regret that this accident occurred, which is why the defense minister has requested the suspension of the operation of these aircraft until their safety can be confirmed,” Japanese government spokesman Hirakazu Matsuno said at a press conference.

Japan’s reaction comes after a US forces aircraft crashed Wednesday with eight people on board off the coast of Yakushima, southwest of Japan, killing at least one person.

The coast guard received a notice at 2:47pm local time (5:47 GMT) about the incident, which took place in waters off the Japanese prefecture of Kagoshima, a spokesman told EFE.

It was a Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft carrying eight crew members. Authorities confirmed the discovery of a body, in addition to the remains of the plane.

The US Air Force Special Operations Command said the aircraft had been involved in a “mishap” while conducting routine training, and that they were still investigating the cause of the accident and the condition of the crew members.

The Osprey, capable of taking off and landing like a helicopter, but also flying like an airplane, is considered a hybrid aircraft and has a track record of accidents both in Japan and abroad. EFE

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