Japan seeks to ground Osprey in wake of deadly Australia crash
he Japanese government has urged the U.S. military to ground all MV-22 Ospreys in Japan after one of the controversial tilt-rotor aircraft crashed off Australia’s eastern coast Saturday, presumably killing three Marines.
“I have requested that they refrain from all flight operations by MV-22 Ospreys in Japan,” newly appointed Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Sunday.
Onodera – who took over last week for embattled former defense minister Tomomi Inada in the wake of a data cover-up scandal – also called on the Marines to provide information on the crash, to investigate its cause and to take preventative measures, a ministry spokeswoman said Monday.
As of Monday afternoon in Japan, Marine officials had not responded to Onodera’s request or to requests for comment from Stars and Stripes.
The helicopter-plane hybrid from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 crashed into the sea at around 4 p.m. Saturday after taking off from the USS Bonhomme Richard for regularly scheduled operations, Marine officials said in a series of statements over the weekend.
The aircraft – carrying 26 Marines at the time – was approaching the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay when it smashed into its deck and slid into the ocean, according to the Courier-Mail, a newspaper based in Brisbane, Australia.
All but three of the Marines were rescued after the Bonhomme Richard and Green Bay launched small boats and aircraft, the statements and media reports said.