A U.S. Air Force CV-22B Osprey tiltrotor crashed yesterday (U.S. time) off the southern coast of Japan. One body has been recovered, and the remaining seven crew members were still missing as of 4 p.m. EST Wednesday (Nov. 29), according to the Japanese coast guard.
According to the USAF Special Operations Command statement, the Osprey was assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing at the Yokota Air Base. The tiltrotor departed along with a second Osprey from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi and was bound for Kadena Air Base on the island of Okinawa. Six Ospreys were based at Yakota, including the accident aircraft. According to a U.S. military statement, the pilot “did everything possible until the last minute.”
According to local public television reports, a resident in Yakushima said he saw the aircraft inverted with one engine on fire, then an explosion before it hit the water’s surface. The crew requested an emergency landing at Yakushima’s airport just five minutes before radar contact was lost, according to multiple local news reports.
The Japanese coast guard reported it had recovered one male crew member who was later pronounced dead. The search also turned up debris from the aircraft and an empty life raft about a half-mile offshore from Yakushima. At press time the search remained ongoing.