US Suspends Osprey Military Aircraft Flights In Japan After Crash Off Okinawa
TOKYO (dpa-AFX) - An Osprey aircraft of the US Marine Corps with five crew members aboard crashed in shallow water off the coastline of Camp Schwab Marine Corps Base in Okinawa, Japan, Tuesday night.
Following the incident, the Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force, Lt Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, said he has decided to temporarily halt all MV-22 flight operations under Marine Forces Japan until he is "satisfied that we have reviewed our checklists and safety of flight procedures."
Pentagon press operations director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters that an Air Force helicopter from the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa airlifted the crew members and transported them to Okinawa Naval Hospital at Camp Foster, where they are being treated for injuries.
Davis said a formal investigation will follow.
Lt Gen. Nicholson said the aircraft was conducting aerial refueling operations over the sea when the rotor blades struck the refueling line, damaging the aircraft.
"[There] is obviously an important military capability that the Osprey provides," he said at a press conference. "It contributes to the security of Japan and the region. We will absolutely get to the bottom of the cause of it and ensure we learn from it so it doesn't happen again. That's what we do."
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX
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