A US military Osprey aircraft with eight people on board has crashed off the coast of southern Japan.
The country’s coastguard said it has found one person and debris in the sea after the aircraft came down on Wednesday.
The condition of the person, and the cause of the crash, is still unclear.
The debris was found about a kilometre from the island of Yakushima, which is south of the island of Kyushu.
The coastguard said the aircraft had departed the US Marine Corps Air Station in Yamaguchi and was on the way to the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa when it crashed after apparently attempting to make an emergency landing at Yakushima airport.
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Witnesses saw fire coming from the Osprey’s left engine, according to Kyodo News agency.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters: “The government will confirm information about the damage and place the highest priority on saving lives.”
US Air Force officials at Yakota said they were still confirming information and had no immediate comment.
The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft which takes off and lands like a helicopter but during flight can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster like an aeroplane.
There have been at least five fatal crashes of Ospreys since 2019, including one in August which killed three US marines.