A U.S. military aircraft crashed near a small island off the coast of southern Japan on Wednesday with eight people onboard. Japan’s Coast Guard said that at least one of those on the craft had been confirmed dead.
The aircraft, a CV-22 Osprey operated by the U.S. Air Force, crashed close to 3 p.m. near Yakushima, according to a spokesman for the Japanese Coast Guard, which is conducting a rescue operation.
The crash came just three months after three U.S. Marines died in another Osprey accident during a training exercise in Australia.
Around 2:40 p.m. on Wednesday, the prefectural police in Kagoshima, where Yakushima is located, received a report that the Osprey, with one of its engines burning, had crashed on a beach near the Yakushima airport, according to Hiroki Shimano, an official in Kagoshima Prefecture’s crisis management division.
The aircraft had lost radar contact before the crash, Hirokazu Matsuno, chief cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, said in a news briefing.
Around 5:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Japan’s Coast Guard said that a rescue crew had found one member of the Osprey’s crew, and that the person was “unconscious and not breathing.” That person was later confirmed dead.
The Osprey, which is manufactured by Boeing and Bell Textron, both American aerospace companies, is a unique aircraft that can take off and land vertically. The CV-22s, which are operated mainly by the Air Force, have been stationed at Yokota Air Base in Japan since 2018.0
Itsunori Onodera, a former defense minister and current lawmaker, posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the crash was “a worrying matter.”
“We have requested the Ministry of Defense and the Japan Coast Guard to do their best to rescue the aircraft,” he wrote, adding, “First of all, we must rescue the crew and request safe flight. I hope the crew will be rescued soon.”