Air Force Says Failure Cause in Deadly V-22 Crash Still Unknown

A probe into the reason for the mishap that killed eight off the coast of Japan in November remains ongoing, the service said.

Air Force accident investigators continue to search for the root cause behind the deadly CV-22 Osprey crash off the coast of Japan in November that killed eight service members on board the tiltrotor aircraft.

The CV-22 assigned to the Air Force’s 353rd Special Operations Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, went down offshore of Yakushima Island on November 29 with eight crewmembers on board during a routine training mission. There were no survivors.

“At this time, the material failure that occurred is known but the cause of the failure has not been determined,” U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) said Tuesday in a statement.

Immediately following the crash, Lieutenant General Tony Bauernfeind, commander of AFSOC, convened both a safety investigation board for internal military mishap prevention and an accident investigation board. One week later, Bauernfeind also instituted an operational stand-down of the Air Force CV-22 fleet amid the accident probe. The action prompted the Navy and Marine Corps to also ground all V-22 variants out of caution.

“Both investigations are still actively in progress, and analysis is ongoing to determine the cause of the mishap,” AFSOC said. “Engineering testing and analysis is ongoing to understand the cause of the material failure, a critical part of the investigation. Any disclosure of findings prior to investigations being finalized is premature and presumptive. As final safety investigation findings and recommendations are received, the priority is to inform our deliberate return to fly and ensure CV-22 aircrew and maintainers have the information they need to prevent future mishaps.”

When the accident investigation is complete, families of those killed in the crash will be briefed on its findings before it is publicly released, AFSOC said. The command said it was also working in close coordination with the V-22 Joint Program Office and stakeholders to assess when a change in the ongoing operational stand-down of the V-22 will occur.

The Air Force is also conducting a comprehensive internal review to determine if its CV-22 elements are “appropriately organized, trained, and equipped for safe, effective, and efficient special operations,” Defense One reported. 


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