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1 confirmed dead after U.S. military aircraft crashes off SW Japanese island

 A U.S. Osprey military transport aircraft carrying six people crashed in waters off Japan’s southwestern island of Yakushima on Wednesday, with one man found near the site confirmed dead, local media reported.

One person found near the accident site who is believed to have been on the aircraft was confirmed dead, and what appeared to be a large amount of debris from the Osprey was spotted floating on the sea, Kyodo News reported, citing the Japan Coast Guard.

The coast guard, which has dispatched patrol boats and aircraft to search the area, also revised the number of crew members aboard the crashed Osprey to six after saying earlier there were eight.

The coast guard received an emergency call about the crash at around 2:47 p.m. local time (0547 GMT) after the Osprey departed from the Iwakuni U.S. base in the Yamaguchi Prefecture heading for the Kadena base in Okinawa, public broadcaster NHK said.

The aircraft, which was assigned to the Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo and used by the U.S. Air Force, disappeared from radar at around 2:40 p.m. local time, according to the Japanese Defense Ministry.

The tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft, which can fly both like a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft, has a track record of accidents and mishaps both in Japan and abroad.

In August, a U.S. Osprey crashed off the coast of northern Australia, killing three crew members. Another crash-landed in the ocean off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa in December 2016. ■

Famagusta Gazette