Image: Japan Coast Guard

At Least One Person Dead In Osprey Plane Crash Off Japan Coast

At least one person is dead after a US military aircraft carrying six people crashed off Yakushima Island in Japan’s south-west.

The status of the other five people is currently unknown, neither is the cause of the crash however, Japan’s NHK broadcaster said the CV-22 Osprey hybrid had been trying to land at Yakushima Airport with one of its engines on fire.

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According to Japan’s defence military, the aircraft went off radar at 2.40pm local time on Wednesday, and a distress call saying the plane had crashed was made five minutes later.

After receiving the call, the Coast Guard sent six boats and two helicopters to the scene and at about 4pm, what believed to be wreckage from the plane was spotted.

The wreckage was found about one kilometre off the east coast of Yakushima, while an empty inflatable lifeboat was also found in the area.

“The government will confirm information about the damage and place the highest priority on saving lives,” chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, said to the media.

Initial reports said eight people were on board, but it was later revised to six.

Osprey aircraft have been involved in five fatal crashes since 2012, bringing the death toll to at least 19 people.

The hybrid plane takes off and lands like a helicopter but has the capabilities to rotate its propellers forward and cruise faster like an airplane during flight.

The Marines, Navy and Air Force are among those which fly the aircraft.

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