U.S. soldier lands on private property during Osprey training

U.S. soldier lands on private property during Osprey training

At around 10:00 a.m. on May 1, in Ie, U.S. military servicemen jumped from MV-22 Osprey (lower right) aircraft for parachute training.

May 5, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

After 10:00a.m. on May 1, at Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield, the U.S. military conducted parachute training for soldiers jumping from MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing transport aircraft. One of the soldiers involved landed on private property outside that controlled by the military. He landed in pastureland, causing no damage to local residents or crops, but some residents were working in a field just 20 meters from where he landed. The U.S. military and Okinawa Defense Bureau did not give the Ie Municipal Office any advance warning that the training was to occur.

This is the first time that parachute training has occurred from MV-22 Osprey since the deployment of the aircraft to Okinawa.

A total of six soldiers from the U.S. Army Garrison Torii Station were involved in the training. One of them, who jumped from an Osprey aircraft, landed in pastureland about 80 meters away from the fence after being blown sideways by a strong wind.

The municipal government reported to the bureau that one of the U.S. servicemen landed in civilian property at 11:10 a.m. The bureau asked the U.S. military about this at 11:35a.m., requesting that they look into the cause and prevent any recurrence. The bureau then reported to the Military Base Affairs Division of the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) at 2:25 p.m.

Ie Mayor Hideyuki Shimabukuro said, “We have been asking the U.S. military to call off the training in unsuitable weather conditions, but they do not. Something bad could have easily happened with local people working nearby.” Shimabukuro will ask the bureau to look into the cause and prevent recurrence.

Vice-Governor Kurayoshi Takara, said, “The OPG asks the U.S. military to strictly implement safety management procedures and to be very careful with this type of training.” On the same day, a representative of the OPG asked the bureau to prevent recurrence, saying, “This kind of incident makes local residents nervous.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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