The Japanese government has reportedly asked the United States Marine Corps to cease all MV-22 Osprey flights in the region, following an incident that involved an Osprey going down off the coast of Australia over the weekend.
We will continue to ask the United States [to stop flying Ospreys] until we receive a solid explanation” about the accident,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Sunday. “Japan will urge the United States to give maximum consideration to safety and minimize the impact on local residents.”
Saturday’s incident involved an MV-22 Osprey assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. After taking off from the USS Bonhomme Richard, a wasp class amphibious assault ship, the Osprey was en route to land on the USS Green Bay, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, when a mechanical issue brought the aircraft down. Of the Osprey’s compliment of 26 crew and passengers, 23 were rescued. After an exhausting search and rescue operation, the Pentagon announced it would be transitioning to a recovery operation, as finding the remaining three crew members alive was unlikely.
Another crash involving a Marine MV-22 Osprey occurred in the waters off the coast of Okinawa last year. The aircraft was lost, but no Marines were killed in the incident.