U.S. Navy Salvage Team Responds for CV-22 Search in Japan

The ongoing mission to recover the remains of a missing airman who was on board the aircraft at the time of the mishap remains a primary focus.

A U.S. sailor jumps into the water from the deck of USNS Salvor during a dive operation amid the ongoing CV-22 Osprey recovery efforts near Yakushima Island, Japan, on Monday. [Courtesy: U.S. Navy]

A U.S. Navy salvage team has arrived in Japan to assist in the recovery efforts of an Air Force CV-22B Osprey that crashed off the coast in late November, according to Air Force Special Operations Command.

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. Following the mishap, the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps grounded all V-22 variants amid the ongoing investigation into the fatal crash.

USNS Salvor prepares to pull into Anbo Port on Yakushima Island, Japan, to assist in the ongoing CV-22 Osprey search and recovery operations. [Courtesy: U.S. Navy]

The ongoing search to recover the remains of a missing airman on board the aircraft at the time of the mishap remains a primary focus, according to military officials.

Divers continue CV-22 Osprey search and recovery efforts on Yakushima Island, Japan. [Courtesy: U.S. Navy]

"Currently, seven of our eight airmen who were aboard have been recovered, and the primary combined Japan-U.S. effort is to locate and recover our eighth airman," the Air Force said in a statement Tuesday. 

The Navy salvage team is assigned to the USNS Salvor, a Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ship assigned to Commander Task Force 73. The team arrived near the crash site Saturday and will be operating alongside the Japan Coast Guard, Japan Self-Defense Forces, and other U.S. military units, as well as civilian volunteers to support the search, recovery, and salvage efforts, the Air Force said.

The circumstances of the mishap remain under investigation, the Air Force said. 

U.S. military personnel approach the USNS Salvor via combat rubber raiding craft during the ongoing CV-22 Osprey recovery efforts. [Courtesy: U.S. Navy]

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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