US Marines take four days to reveal an aircraft part fell from an Osprey

March 17, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On March 16, the Okinawa Defense Bureau revealed to the Ryukyu Shimpo that an aluminum part of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft belonging to the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma had fallen. No injury has been reported. After the aircraft battled fires near range 7 in Camp Hansen from 12 p.m. to 3:10 p.m. on March 12, it returned to Futenma Air Base in Ginowan. The part fell during that period. The Okinawa Defense Bureau received a report from U.S. forces in Japan on March 16, four days after the accident. Marine Corps has not halted operation of the Osprey, which continues to fly.

The Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG), Ginowan City and Onna Village received a report on the incident from the defense bureau. However, the report did not provide information on what part of the aircraft fell and where it landed.

According to the bureau, the fallen aluminum part is an about 20.3 centimeters long and 7.6 centimeters wide, weighing about 164 grams. As of 9 p.m. on March 16, the U.S. Marines had not replied to a question from the Ryukyu Shimpo regarding which part of the aircraft the fallen object belonged to and why they delayed reporting it for four days to the Japanese side.

There have been other similar incidents involving U.S. military aircraft. This January, parts of a U.S. Marine AH- attack helicopter belonging to the Futenma base fell during flight in training airspace near Irisuna Island, Tonaki. The parts weighed more than about 200 kilograms, including hellfire missile launchers. An F-15 fighter belonging to U.S. Air Force Kadena Air Base lost its distal portion, weighing 5.4 kg, from the left of the vertical stabilizers during flight on February 4. A metallic component weighing about 227 kg dropped from a Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft belonging to U.S.Navy Kadena Air Base.

In February 2013, a full bottle of water fell from an Osprey aircraft belonging to the Futenma base during a flight near the base. In June 2014, a metal part of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft belonging to the base fell.

On March 16, the OPG asked the U.S. military to ensure they would take steps to report accidents swiftly, prevent recurrence and be more thorough in safety management. An OPG spokesperson said, “It is really a shame the parts of military aircraft have continued to fall, which could have possibly caused serious accidents.”

On the same day, a Ginowan City spokesperson said, “It is really a shame the incident happened. The fallen parts could have possibly led to serious injuries.” The city asked the defense bureau to prevent recurrence of such incidents and ascertain the cause of the accident.

(English translation by T&CT)

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