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Iran Press TV
Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:15PM
A US military aircraft with five service members on-board has crashed off Japan’s Okinawa island, days after a Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot died in another crash in the Japanese territorial waters.
The MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft was flying over Okinawa’s east coast late Tuesday, when it crashed in shallow waters near the shore, according to the US Marine Corps.
All of the crew survived the crash, the Japanese military said, noting that three of the airmen had life-threatening injuries and were being treated at a US Navy hospital at Kadena Air Base.
The Marines suspended flights of all Osprey military aircraft in Japan after the crash.
Last Wednesday, a Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet fighter jet went down when it was flying about 120 miles southeast of the city of Iwakuni, which is located in Yamaguchi Prefecture and hosts a Marine Corps air station.
The Hornet’s 32-year-old pilot was able to eject the aircraft before impact but did not survive the incident. His body was recovered by Japanese search and rescue ships a day later.
The Osprey’s crash just off Nago City prompted protests across Okinawa, where a heavy presence of American troops has long been a source of tension due to the high rate of crimes committed by them.
After the rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by three US troops in 1996, Washington and Tokyo agreed to relocate some US servicemen outside Okinawa and move others to less populated parts of the island.
Protesters, however, want the nearly 50,000 US military personnel and their bases to leave the island altogether.
Okinawans have also held protests against the Osprey’s deployment on the island because of safety concerns.
The aircraft was introduced in June 2007, and has had seven hull-loss accidents with a total of 36 fatalities since its first flight in 1989.
Last May, an Osprey was nearly destroyed after it was forced to crash-land in Hawaii.
The Bell Boeing product combines helicopter and airplane capabilities which allow it to transport up to 32 soldiers and reach top speeds of over 500 km/h.
The $72 million military aircraft is also capable of vertical takeoff and landing and has taken part in military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Kuwait.
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