Missing U.S. Soldiers Who Were Aboard Fallen Osprey Still Unaccounted For; Search Set to Continue off Yakushima Island

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels search for missing U.S. soldiers off Yakushima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Saturday.

The Japan Coast Guard and other entities were unable to find any of the missing U.S. soldiers that were aboard a CV-22 Osprey which crashed into the sea east of Yakushima island, Kagoshima Prefecture, despite searches by divers on Saturday.

After the accident, one soldier was confirmed dead and seven were unaccounted for. The JCG and others were to continue their search for the missing soldiers on Sunday around the site of the accident.

On Saturday, three MV-22 Osprey aircraft flew to Amami Airport in Kagoshima Prefecture after taking off from the U.S. forces’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture. According to the Kagoshima prefectural government, U.S. forces in Japan applied for permission to use the airport for search activities and transportation of personnel. The MV-22 model Osprey is a different model of the tiltrotor transport aircraft from the CV-22 that was involved in the accident.

Shortly before noon, the MV-22 Ospreys were confirmed to be flying over the sea near Yakushima island.

The prefectural government, through the Kyushu Defense Bureau, asked U.S. forces to avoid flying Ospreys over land, especially over urban areas. Kagoshima Gov. Koichi Shiota said, “I want [concerned authorities] to respond prioritizing the safety of residents in the prefecture.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force said Saturday that all eight U.S. soldiers that were aboard the crashed Osprey belong to the air force.