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Japan to ask US to ground Osprey aircraft after crash

One person was killed when a US military Osprey aircraft crashed in the sea off Japan.

One person was killed when a US military Osprey aircraft crashed in the sea off Japan. Photo: AAP

Japan’s defence ministry plans to ask the US military to ground its Osprey aircraft after one crashed into the sea in western Japan, killing at least one person onboard.

A spokesman for the defence ministry declined to comment on the reports on Thursday.

The US Air Force, which was operating the hybrid aircraft, has called the incident a “mishap” and said the cause is unknown.

Witnesses said the aircraft’s left engine appeared to be on fire as it approached an airport for an emergency landing on Wednesday  in clear weather and light winds, media reported.

Developed by Boeing and Bell Helicopter, the V-22 Osprey can fly like both a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft and is operated by the US Air Force, Marines and Navy, and the Japan Self-Defence Forces.

The deployment of the hybrid aircraft in Japan has been controversial, with critics saying it is prone to accidents. The US military and Japan say it is safe.

In August, a US Osprey crashed off the coast of northern Australia while transporting troops during a routine military exercise, killing three US Marines.

Another crash-landed in the ocean off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa in December 2016, prompting a temporary US military grounding of the aircraft.

– AAP

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