Updated Dec 6, 2023 - World

Air Force confirms 8 dead in U.S. military aircraft crash near Japan

Resucers recover debris from the Osprey crash

Recovered debris, believed to be from the crashed US Air Force CV-22B Osprey aircraft, is brought ashore on Nov. 30. Photo: STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

All crew members aboard the U.S. military Osprey aircraft that crashed off the coast of Japan last week have died, the Air Force said Tuesday.

Driving the news: The aircraft was carrying eight passengers when it crashed near Japan's southern Yakushima island, in what was the latest in a series of fatal incidents in recent years involving the Osprey.

  • One person was found dead shortly after the crash last Wednesday and was later identified as U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliher, 24.
  • The Air Force Special Operations Command said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. military had transitioned from search and rescue operations to search and recovery, a switch that is typically happens "when the determination is made that survivors are unlikely."
  • "The honorable service of these eight Airmen to this great Nation will never be forgotten, as they are now among the giants who shape our history," Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, said in the statement.
  • Search teams on Monday discovered the remains of five additional crew members and the aircraft's main fuselage, the Air Force Special Operations Command said in a statement.

The Air Force identified the seven other crew members killed:

  • Maj. Jeffrey T. Hoernemann, 32.
  • Maj. Eric V. Spendlove, 36.
  • Maj. Luke A. Unrath, 34.
  • Capt. Terrell K. Brayman, 32.
  • Sgt. Zachary E. Lavoy, 33.
  • Staff Sgt. Jake M. Turnage, 25.
  • Senior Airman Brian K. Johnson, 32.

Of note: The bodies of six of the eight airmen have been recovered while two are unaccounted for, the Air Force said in a statement Wednesday.

The big picture: Osprey aircraft have been involved in a number of fatal crashes in recent years.

  • Last week's crash marked the first fatal accident involving an Osprey in Japan, per CBS News.
  • The U.S. military has suspended Osprey aircraft operations for the military unit in Japan that had the crash.
  • However, other Ospreys in the country are continuing to "operate only after undergoing thorough maintenance and safety checks," Pentagon Deputy Spokesperson Sabrina Singh said last Friday, Reuters reported.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new developments and a statement from the U.S. Air Force.

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