Bucket falls from airborne MV 22 Osprey in San Diego

January 20, 2013 Hideki Matsudo of Ryukyu Shimpo reports from Washington D.C.

On January 17, a five-gallon bucket fell from an USMC MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft and smashed through the roof of an auto repair shop near the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego, damaging six vehicles. According to former chief analyst Arthur Rex Rivolo, the Osprey lacks a pressure adjustment function, so it flies with its rear hatch open to get a clear rear view. Rivolo said that if the aircraft flies without its crew and cargo being firmly strapped in, they could fall out. NBC News and XETV-TV, which cover the San Diego California area, reported the incident. No one was injured.

According to a representative of MCAS Miramar, the bucket was tied down with rope, but at some point it came loose and fell from the door or rear hatch of the MV-22 Osprey. This occurred at about 7:00pm, immediately after the aircraft took off. The bucket containing cleaning solution crashed through the roof of an auto repair shop near the marine base, damaging several vehicles. Officials of the MCAS are investigating the accident. Employees discovered a hole in the roof on the morning of January 17. The bucket broke apart upon impact, damaging several vehicles and spilling cleaning solution on others. It was confirmed that the liquid was not dangerous.

A local truck driver said, “It could just have dropped right out here on one of our trucks out here while we were working. So it was close.”

There was an accident in Afghanistan in 2011 involving an Osprey flying with its rear hatch open. On that occasion crew members were killed when they fell from the rear of an aircraft flying at 60 meters. Rivolo said that although the Osprey flies with its rear hatch open, normally the crew and cargo are firmly strapped in, but this time that was not done, so Rivolo pointed out that the accident was caused by human error.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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