NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Two U.S. military Osprey aircraft made emergency landings at the airport on Amami Island in southwestern Japan on Wednesday afternoon, a government source said.
The tilt-rotor transport aircraft deployed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the Okinawa main island landed at Amami Airport on the nearby island in Kagoshima Prefecture. No injuries were reported and the aircraft were not damaged, the source said.
According to the Kagoshima Prefectural Government, one Osprey landed at the airport shortly after 4:30 p.m. and the second did so about a half-hour later.
The U.S. forces in Japan told the Defense Ministry that the aircraft landed because a warning light came on in one of them and checks of the two Ospreys found no abnormalities.
According to the local defense bureau, the Ospreys left the airport around 5:50 p.m. One aircraft arrived at the Futenma base around 6:40 p.m., while the other landed at the Marines’ Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture on Wednesday night.
The U.S. Marines in Japan said in a statement that appropriate action was taken to land the Ospreys safely at the nearest airport due to a maintenance problem.
The emergency landings add to a series of incidents involving U.S. Ospreys in recent years and could further fan safety concerns among residents of Okinawa.
Ospreys can take off and land vertically like helicopters but cruise like planes.
A U.S. Osprey also made an emergency landing at Amami Airport last June.
The landings did not affect the operation of commercial flights at the airport, the government source said.