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U.S. military aircraft of the Osprey type (symbolic image)


A U.S. military plane with eight people on board crashed off the coast of Japan on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the Japanese Coast Guard told the AFP news agency that at 14:47 p.m. local time (6:47 a.m. CET), information was received that the Osprey military aircraft had crashed into the sea off Yakushima Island.

According to the report, there were eight crew members on board. No further information was available. Eyewitnesses said, according to the broadcaster MBC, that one of the plane's engines had caught fire before the crash. A spokesman for U.S. forces in the region said they were still gathering information about the incident. Yakushima Island is located south of Japan's southernmost main island, Kyushu.

As recently as August, an Osprey military aircraft crashed in northern Australia. Three U.S. soldiers were killed. A total of 23 were on board. The Boeing MV-22B Osprey crashed over Melville Island, north of Darwin, during a military exercise.

Ospreys look like a cross between an airplane and a helicopter and can take off and land vertically like helicopters, at the same time they can fly significantly faster than normal helicopters.