Air Force confirms all 8 U.S. crew members killed in Osprey crash in Japan #Air #Force #confirms #U.S #crew #members #killed #Osprey #crash #Japan

TOKYO — All eight crew members aboard a U.S. military Osprey aircraft that crashed off the coast of Japan last week have been confirmed dead, the Air Force said.

The CV-22B Osprey crashed into waters near Yakushima, an island off Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu, during a routine training mission on Nov. 29. Officials said Tuesday that search and rescue operations were being transitioned to search and recovery operations, indicating that no survivors are likely to be found.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and peers of all who are impacted by this mishap and loss of life,” Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, said in a statement. 

The remains of three of the airmen have been recovered, three have been located and are in the process of being recovered and the search continues for the remains of the two others, the statement said.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of the eight airmen and that there would be a “rigorous and thorough” investigation of the crash.

“The entire Department of Defense mourns alongside the families and the loved ones of those who lost their lives today in the service of their country,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “My heart also goes out to those who were serving alongside these brave men and women in Japan.”

He said the United States was grateful for the search and rescue efforts by the Japanese military, coast guard and local communities, including fishermen.

One crew member, Staff Sgt. Jake M. Galliher, 24, of Pittsfield, Mass., was identified last week after his body was recovered near the site of the crash.

US airmen confirmed dead in Japan Osprey crash
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” M. Galliher, 24.Yokota Air Base

The seven other crew members were identified on Tuesday as Maj. Jeffrey T. Hoernemann, 32, of Andover, Minn.; Maj. Eric V. Spendlove, 36, of St. George, Utah; Maj. Luke A. Unrath, 34, of Riverside, Calif.; Capt. Terrell K. Brayman, 32, of Pittsford, N.Y.; Tech. Sgt. Zachary E. Lavoy, 33, of Oviedo, Fla.; Staff Sgt. Jake M. Turnage, 25, of Kennesaw, Ga.; and Senior Airman Brian K. Johnson, 32, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

In a letter of condolence to President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed “heartfelt gratitude to the members of the U.S. Forces Japan who carry out missions day and night, far away from their hometowns and families, to maintain peace and security of Japan and the surrounding region.”

There are more than 50,000 American troops based in Japan, a U.S. treaty ally, more than any other country.

Ospreys, an American hybrid aircraft that takes off, lands and hovers like a helicopter but flies like a fixed-wing plane, have had several fatal crashes in recent years, raising safety concerns. Earlier this year, another Osprey aircraft with 23 U.S. Marines on board crashed in Australia, killing three.

After the crash last week, Japan suspended flights of its own Ospreys “until the circumstances surrounding the accident become clear,” and asked U.S. forces to do the same.

Though CV-22B Ospreys assigned to the Yokota Air Base unit involved in the crash are now “not conducting flight operations,” according to the Pentagon, other Ospreys in the region are still flying, officials said.

Arata Yamamoto reported from Tokyo, and Larissa Gao reported from Hong Kong.

#Air #Force #confirms #U.S #crew #members #killed #Osprey #crash #Japan

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