NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – A U.S. MV-22 Osprey military aircraft made an apparent emergency landing at an airport in Okinawa Prefecture due to a possible mechanical problem Friday afternoon.
Including this plane, two Ospreys landed at New Ishigaki Airport on the island of Ishigaki shortly before 5 p.m.
The airport was temporarily closed. No one was injured in the incident.
The Ospreys, two of several deployed at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Air Station Futenma in the city of Ginowan, on the main island of Okinawa, were heading for the Philippines, according to the Okinawa Defense Bureau of the Defense Ministry.
The aircraft made precautionary landings after an alarm indicating a problem went off in the cockpit of one of them, a Marine Corps official said, adding that the planes headed to the closest airport for a safe touchdown based on internal rules.
The airport was informed of the possible emergency landing around 4:50 p.m., according to sources including the Okinawa Prefectural Government’s airport department.
One of the two Ospreys landed at the airport at 4:57 p.m. and the other at 4:59 p.m. One of them was towed to the airport apron because it was unable to move from the taxiway after it landed.
An official of the airport management office reported a possible oil leak from the right engine of one of the Ospreys.
“I have no choice but to have great doubt and distrust about the U.S. military’s aircraft maintenance and safety measures,” Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga told reporters at the prefectural government office in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.
Onaga said that he will urge the U.S. military and the Japanese government to thoroughly investigate the cause of the incident and take full-fledged safety measures.
A series of incidents involving Ospreys deployed at the Futenma base have occurred recently.
Last December, one of the aircraft crash-landed in shallow water off the Okinawa city of Nago during an aerial refueling drill. Another made a belly-landing at the Futenma base in the same month.
On Aug. 5 this year, an Osprey crashed into the ocean off the east coast of Australia, killing three of its 26 crew members.
Another made an emergency landing at an airport in Oita Prefecture on Aug. 29 due to engine trouble as it was flying to Futenma from Iwakuni Air Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture.