All eight airmen who were aboard an Osprey military aircraft that crashed off Japan on November 29, are considered deceased, the US Air Force said Tuesday.
A statement by Air Force Special Operations Command said six of the eight crew members’ remains had been located.
It added, “the US military transitioned search and rescue operations to search and recovery operations,” meaning “survivors are unlikely."
Of the eight airmen, the remains of three airmen have been recovered, the remains of another three airmen have been located and are in the process of being recovered, and the remains of two airmen are still being located, according to AFP.
Offering his condolences, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the military would “continue to gather information” on the incident and conduct “a rigorous and thorough investigation.”
US President Joe Biden said in a statement that “our entire nation mourns this tragic loss.
On Nov. 29, the US Air Force Osprey aircraft crashed into the ocean near the Japanese island of Yakushima with eight people on board during a training mission. The US military has around 54,000 personnel in Japan.
The Osprey, which can operate like a helicopter or a fixed-wing plane, has suffered a string of fatal crashes over the years, and therefore, rekindled safety concerns.
The accidents include a crash in northern Australia that killed three US Marines in August, and another in Norway during NATO training exercises last year that left four dead.
In the wake of the deadly crash, Japan had halted using its own Ospreys pending safety checks and has asked the US to suspend its Osprey flights.