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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 September 6 - 12  > MV-22, before crashing in sea off Okinawa, repeatedly failed in attempts at aerial refueling
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2017 September 6 - 12 TOP3 [US FORCES]

MV-22, before crashing in sea off Okinawa, repeatedly failed in attempts at aerial refueling

September 12, 2017
The Ministry of Defense on September 11 published the U.S. military report on a U.S. MV-22 crash that occurred in Okinawa late last year. The report attributes the accident to a mistake made by the aircraft’s pilot, adding that before the crash, the plane had failed in attempts to aerial refuel many times.

The MV-22 Osprey on December 13, 2016 crashed in shallow waters off Okinawa’s Nago City after having several air-to-air refueling failures.

Following the release of the accident report, the top-ranking officer of the U.S. military command in Okinawa, Lawrence Nicholson, announced that the U.S. military reached the conclusion that pilot error had caused the crash.

While expressing his regret over the event, Lawrence tries to play down the incident in a comment he issued on the same day, claiming that the situation may have turned for the worse without a rapid emergency response by the airplane crew and cooperation between officials of Okinawa and the U.S. Air Force. He offered no apology to Okinawans.

At that time, Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi was visiting Tokyo to demand amendments to the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Hearing of the lieutenant general’s comment, Onaga said to reporters, “They always blame accidents on pilots and never on the aircraft’s design. They intentionally avoid referring to the structural defects in Ospreys.”

Earlier on this day, Onaga met with Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori at the Ministry. Onaga demanded that the SOFA be revised to allow Japanese police authorities to assume leadership at the scene of U.S. military-related accidents or crimes when they happen outside U.S. military facilities and to exercise the right to conduct an investigation, search, or seizure.

Onaga said that at the time of the Osprey crash last year, “Even the Japan Coast Guard was not allowed access to the site, and the U.S. forces removed all the wreckage and evidence from the crash scene.” He emphasized that the authority to investigate should reside with the Japanese police.

Past related articles:
> Okinawans hold urgent rally to protest against US Osprey crash in Okinawa [December 18, 2016]
> US military recovers crashed Osprey ignoring Japan’s request [December 17 & 18, 2016]
> ‘Be thankful’ remark by top US military officer fuels Okinawans’ anger [December 15&16, 2016]
> Okinawa-elected lawmakers protest against Osprey crash in waters off their prefecture [December 15, 2016]
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