Fallen component from Osprey aircraft exceeds one meter in size, according to U.S. military

Fallen component from Osprey aircraft exceeds one meter in size, according to U.S. military

August 20, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo


Concerning an incident on August 12 in which components of a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft fell therefrom, the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) on August 19 clarified that one of the components in question was a panel exceeding one meter in length. This was an amendment of the explanation given the day after the incident, on August 13, when the component was described as being approximately 35 centimeters vertically, and approximately 45 centimeters horizontally. Okinawa Deputy Governor Kiichiro Jahana called Ambassador in charge of Okinawan Affairs Naofumi Hashimoto of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Director Isao Ono of the ODB to the Prefectural Office on August 19 in order to lodge an objection about the fallen components. Deputy Governor Jahana has requested preventative measures, and requested that flights of MV-22 Osprey be suspended until the cause of the incident is investigated.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Okinawa explained that the initial report was conjecture, and that an amendment was issued as soon as the actual size of the panel was realized. The ODB received information pertaining to this incident from the United States on August 18 and conveyed this information to the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) and relevant municipalities on the same day, and on August 19 an ODB spokesperson provided an explanation to the media.

According to the ODB, the size of the fallen panel was approximately 109 centimeters in length, 68 centimeters in width, 1.9 centimeters thick, and weighed 1.8 kilograms. This panel had been attached to a roof portion of the cockpit. On the same day a covering called a “blade fairing”, which had been attached to the propeller engine cover on the right side of the aircraft, also fell. The blade fairing has a length and width of 43 centimeters and a thickness of 0.3 centimeters, but its weight is unknown. Initially, the blade faring was announced as being about 23 centimeters long and about 8 centimeters wide.

On August 19, when lodging his objection with Ambassador Hashimoto and Director Isao Ono, Deputy Governor Jahana said that such an incident “could lead to a serious accident, and causes apprehension for the residents in the area as well as prefectural citizens. It is outrageous that training with the same type of aircraft was conducted the next day despite there being no investigation into the cause [of the incident].” Jahana also requested the withdrawal of the Osprey and the expedited closure and return of Futenma Air Station. He pointed out that more incidents occur during periods when training is conducted frequently, and said that he would like to ask for training to be suspended and for a complete inspection of the aircraft. He also mentioned wishing that the Japanese government would step up a little more and take a strong stance with the United States.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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