Japan: Osprey aircraft resumes flights at US base after being grounded over deadly crash

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An Osprey transport aircraft on Thursday resumed flights at a US base in Japan’s southern prefecture of Okinawa for the first time since last November when the entire fleet was grounded following a deadly crash, Japan-based NHK reported. US forces and Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force grounded their fleet of ospreys after one of the tilt-rotor aircraft crashed off the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima last November, killing all eight US military personnel on board.

On Wednesday, Japan’s Defence Ministry announced that the aircraft would resume flights in phases starting Thursday, after the completion of maintenance and crew training Shortly before 9:00 am (local time) on Thursday, an Osprey was seen hovering over the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station and was confirmed to be gaining altitude. The US 1st Marine Aircraft Wing announced that it had resumed flights of the MV-22 Osprey at Futenma.

Meanwhile, Okinawa Prefecture has criticized the decision to put the aircraft back in the air so soon after the flight ban was lifted. There has also been criticism of the US side’s failure to disclose details of what caused the November crash, NHK reported. Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures are also demanding the disclosure of more detailed information.

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