Osprey crashes in Hawaii, one dead; same model as Ospreys deployed at Futenma

Osprey crashes in Hawaii, one dead; same model as Ospreys deployed at Futenma

An MV-22 Osprey aircraft takes off from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan at 0:40 p.m. on May 19. (Photograph taken by Yuna Fukuhara)

May 19, 2015 Sakae Toiyama of Ryukyu Shimpo reports from Washington D.C.

On May 17 at 11:40 a.m., a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft crashed over an Air Force base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu during a drill. Of the 22 marines aboard the aircraft, one was killed in the crash, and the other 21 were transported to the hospital. The Marine Corps is currently investigating the cause of the accident. Aircraft of the same model have been deployed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma since 2012, and Okinawan residents’ concerns regarding the aircraft’s safety have increased even further. After the accident, on the afternoon of May 18, the U.S. Marines stationed on Okinawa announced that they currently have no plans to suspend Osprey operations at Futenma and will continue operating the aircraft there.

According to the Marine Corps, the accident occurred at the Bellows Air Force Base in the southeastern part of Oahu. Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit based in California’s Camp Pendleton were aboard the aircraft. The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit was scheduled to be deployed overseas in areas under the authority of the U.S. Pacific Command for seven months starting May 10. The Marine Corps are describing the current crash as a “hard landing.”

Hawaiian TV stations and newspaper homepages are showing chaotic photographs and video of the crash, with vicious flames and huge amounts of black smoke rising from the body of the fallen Osprey. According to eyewitness accounts, a cloud of dust blew up as three Osprey began their descent over the base. Two of the aircraft ascended, but the third dropped out of sight, and black smoke started to rise from the area.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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