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US military Osprey helicopter with 8 on board crashes into sea off the coast of Japan

No information is currently available regarding the condition of the occupants. Witnesses reported flames from the left engine as the aircraft descended into the sea.

US military Osprey helicopter with 8 on board crashes into sea off the coast of Japan
First Published Nov 29, 2023, 12:51 PM IST

A United States Osprey helicopter, carrying eight individuals, has experienced a crash into the sea off the coast of Japan. As of now, there are no details available regarding the condition of the occupants. A spokesperson stated, "We received information at 2:47 pm today that the US military's Osprey crashed off Yakushima Island." Eyewitnesses from the local community reported observing the aircraft with flames emanating from its left engine as it descended into the sea. Yakushima Island is situated to the south of Japan's southernmost main island, Kyushu.

The V-22 Osprey is a versatile combat aircraft that employs tiltrotor technology, blending the vertical capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. It can take off, land, and hover like a helicopter with its nacelles and rotors in a vertical position. Once airborne, the nacelles can be rotated, transforming the aircraft into a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.

In July 2023, 14 Ospreys belonging to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, stationed at Camp Kisarazu in Chiba prefecture, were grounded following a Marine Corps report on a June 8, 2022, crash near San Diego, California. The Marine Corps report, spanning over 400 pages, attributed the fatal crash to a "dual hard clutch engagement," leading to a drive system failure and a "catastrophic loss of thrust" on the right proprotor, resulting in an "unrecoverable departure from controlled flight."

The issue of the hard clutch has been a persistent challenge for the US military, prompting the temporary grounding of US Air Force Ospreys in August 2022 due to the same problem.

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