A day after a fatal Air Force CV-22 Osprey crash, Japan’s military has temporarily grounded its fleet of the tiltrotor aircraft and is calling on the U.S. military to do the same.
A CV-22B assigned to the Air Force’s 353rd Special Operations Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan went down offshore of Yakushima Island Wednesday afternoon during a routine training mission, killing at least one of the eight airmen on board, according to reports.
Thursday, Japanese military officials announced the country’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) would suspend operations of its fleet of 14 Ospreys until the cause of the crash was clarified, Reuters reported.
“The occurrence of such an accident causes great anxiety to the people of the region… and we are requesting the U.S. side to conduct flights of Ospreys deployed in Japan after these flights are confirmed to be safe,” Japan defense minister Minoru Kihara told the country’s parliament.
“After receiving the first news, we searched to save lives, and this morning we made the request to the [United States Forces, Japan] commander,” Kihara said, Barron’s reported.
As of Thursday afternoon, Ospreys remained in operation in Japan, an Air Force spokesperson told FLYING.
Kihara told reporters Thursday evening local time that the country’s regional defense bureau documented 20 Osprey landings and takeoffs at U.S. military bases by Thursday afternoon, Reuters reported.
The crash occurred shortly before 3 p.m. local time as the aircraft was enroute from Yokota Air Base in western Japan to Kadena Air Base, Kyodo News reported. The coast guard said it received an emergency call at the time of the incident, along with reports that the aircraft’s left engine was on fire as the Osprey fell. A second CV-22 flying with the aircraft landed safely on Yakushima Island.
The Japanese coast guard reported that at least one of the eight crew members was killed.
The mishap follows a string of fatal accidents involving the tiltrotor aircraft. Earlier this year, the Marine Corps determined that a MV-22 crash in June 2022 that killed five Marines was the result of a dual hard clutch engagement, and not the result of aircraft maintenance or aircrew errors. In late August, a Marine Corps MV-22 on a training exercise in Australia went down with 23 Marines on board, killing three.