U.S. government reports that human error caused the MV-22 Osprey crash in Morocco

June 3, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

The U.S. Government has sent the Ministry of Defense an unofficial report stating that human error caused the MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft crash in Morocco in April, and that no mechanical problems have been found. This was revealed on June 2. The U.S. government does not plan to change the schedule for the Osprey deployment to Futenma Air Station, and will transport them to Naha Military Port in July.

The U.S. government will officially convey their findings on the accident to the Japanese government within the next few days, and after receiving the report, Ministry of Defense will explain it to the Okinawa Prefectural Office. Some experts suggest that the crash was caused by human error, but have indicated that there is an issue with the structural mechanism that controls this, causing more anxiety about inherent risk. Experts pointed out that not enough had been done on the investigation of the crash because by rights it should take at least six months to carry it out. They speculated that the hasty investigation report is in order to expedite the Osprey deployment to Okinawa in July.

The governments of Japan and the United States will proceed with the planned deployment of the Osprey to Okinawa on the grounds that no structural failures for the aircraft have been reported. On April 11, in Morocco, a MV-22 crashed during military exercises, killing and injuring four Marines.

On the subject of the accident, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima opposed the deployment to Futenma Air Station, saying, “It is difficult to accept them into Okinawa.” In a telephone conversation, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka asked Secretary of Defense Panetta to provide information about the crash.

When he met Parliamentary Secretary Hideo Jinpu, who visited the United States in late May, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James N. Miller said that the U.S. government will provide the details of the accident analysis report as soon as it is ready. Subsequent to this, the Japanese government received an unofficial report from the Pentagon to the effect that the cause of the accident is human error, but the Pentagon has not disclosed the details of that human error. A senior official of the Ministry of Defense commented that if were a flaw in the aircraft, it would have stopped flying, and speculated that the accident had therefore was clearly caused by human error.

Ministry of Defense officials said that they would like to report the cause of the crash in Morocco to the Okinawa Prefectural Government before they discuss how and when to deploy the Osprey to Okinawa.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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