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US military aircraft carrying 6 crashes off coast of Japan, 1 dead: report

A U.S. military V-22 Osprey aircraft with six people aboard crashed off the coast of western Japan on Wednesday, according to a report from The Associated Press.

The Japanese Coast Guard said the crash site is off Yakushima Island and patrol boats and aircraft have been deployed to the location for search and rescue efforts. At least one person was killed in the crash, coast guard officials said.

Gray-colored debris believed to belong to the Osprey were located by the Japanese Coast Guard about 0.6 miles off the coast of the island, The AP reported. The report initially said eight people were on board.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Yokota Air Force Base in western Tokyo, the U.S. Forces Japan Public Affairs Office and the Japanese Coast Guard for more information.

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Versions of the tilt-rotor plane are operated by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Navy and the Japan Self Defense Forces and has the ability to fly like a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft.

According to Japanese media, local authorities said witnesses saw the aircraft’s left engine on fire as it descended at around 2:47 p.m. local time near the island’s airport.

It disappeared from radar shortly before the crash at 2:40 p.m., according to Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno via Reuters.

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Though the U.S. military and Japan say the aircraft is safe, its deployment in Japan has been controversial as critics claim it is prone to accidents.

Three U.S. Marines were killed in August when an Osprey crashed off the coast of northern Australia during a routine exercise transporting troops.

Another crash-landed in the ocean off Okinawa in December 2016, which prompted a temporary grounding of the aircraft.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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