US Navy divers on Sunday found the remains of the seventh of eight crew members of a military ship that crashed into the sea near southern Japan during a training mission.
The Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft crashed on November 29 on Yakushima Island in southwestern Japan en route to Okinawa. The bodies of six crew members, including five from the sunken ship, have been recovered.
The United States Air Force Special Operations Command indicated in a statement that the body recovered by Navy divers was one of the two missing crew members. The soldier’s identity has been verified but will not be made public until next of kin are notified, the order said.
“There is now a concerted effort to locate and recover the remains of the eighth crew member,” he said.
The US forces have banned all flights of their Osprey V-22 helicopters after an initial investigation found that the failure of the aircraft was not human error.
The American-made Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that lands and takes off vertically, like a helicopter, but during flight it can rotate its propellers forward and travel much faster than a conventional plane.
The incident raised new questions about the safety of the Osprey, which has had several accidents in the short time it has been in service. Japan ordered 14 of its Ospreys to be grounded after the crash.
Japanese defense officials say the Ospreys are key to the country’s defense, especially in the southwest, in the face of growing threats from China. But the crash raised fears and some protests erupted in areas where the authorities plan to deploy that type of aircraft.
Japanese residents and the local press criticized the government for not banning the Ospreys from flying immediately and for not providing more information about the crash.