Japan urges US to confirm flight safety after Osprey aircraft crash

International |  IANS  | Published :

Tokyo, Nov 30 (IANS) Japan has urged the US to confirm the safety of its Osprey military aircraft, after one crashed into the sea, killing at least one person onboard, Defence Minister Minoru Kihara said on Thursday.

"The occurrence of such an accident causes great anxiety to the people of the region," Kihara said in Parliament.

"And we are requesting the US side to conduct flights of Ospreys deployed in Japan after these flights are confirmed to be safe."

Japan's Ground Self-Defence Force, which has a V-22 Osprey fleet, will suspend its own Osprey flights for the time being, senior Defence Ministry official Taro Yamato told the parliamentary hearing.

A US Osprey military transport aircraft based in Japan crashed in waters off the country's southwestern island of Yakushima on Wednesday.

One unconscious person was found in the sea and later declared dead, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

The cause of the crash and the status of the seven others on board were not immediately known, Coast Guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa said.

The Japan Coast Guard and others are continuing search and rescue operations.

The US Air Force said that the CV-22 tilt-rotor transport aircraft involved in a "mishap" while carrying out a routine training had eight airmen on board.

The Japan Coast Guard had initially said eight crew were aboard the crashed Osprey before revising the number down to six and then back to eight.

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