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Japan asks US military to ground Osprey aircraft after crash

Desk Report || risingbd.com

Published: 11:07, 30 November 2023  
Japan asks US military to ground Osprey aircraft after crash

Japan said it has asked the U.S. to suspend all non-emergency V-22 Osprey flights over its territory after one fell into the sea on Wednesday in western Japan, marking the country's first fatal U.S. military plane crash in five years.

The U.S. Air Force, which was operating the tilt-rotor aircraft, says the cause of the mishap, which killed at least one person, is currently unknown. The condition of the other seven people onboard is not known, reports reuters.

"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," Minoru Kihara said in parliament on Thursday, reversing a decision yesterday to allow such flights to continue.

The Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF), which also operates Ospreys, will suspend flights of the transport aircraft until the circumstances of the incident are clarified, another senior defence ministry official said in parliament.

spokesperson for U.S. military forces in Japan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Witnesses said the aircraft's left engine appeared to be on fire as it approached an airport for an emergency landing in clear weather and light winds, media reported.

Developed by Boeing (BA.N) and Bell Helicopter, the hybrid V-22, which can land and take off like a helicopter and fly like a fixed-wing aircraft, is operated by the U.S. Air Force, Marines and Navy, and the SDF.

The deployment of the aircraft in Japan has been controversial, with critics of the U.S. military presence in the southwest islands saying it is prone to accidents._Agencies.

Feroz/Nasim