A search is underway in North Carolina for a Marine crewmember who fell from an MV-22B Osprey aircraft Monday night during a training flight, Marine officials said.
The incident occurred some 45 miles west of Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, about 6:30 p.m., Marine officials said in a statement Tuesday. How and why the crewmember fell is unknown and under investigation, officials said.
They declined to identify the Marine, from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, because of privacy regulations.
“While the cause of the mishap is under investigation, our first priority is to locate our missing comrade,” Marine officials said in the statement. “We ask that everyone keeps this Marine in their prayers and that you do nothing to hinder the efforts of the authorities involved in the search.”
The Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft is unique, as it functions as both a helicopter and an airplane. The aircraft is controversial because of several high-profile crashes early in its history.
In recent years it has been a flash point for protests on the Japanese island of Okinawa where some are based even though Marine Corps Osprey pilots often laud the aircraft for its toughness and versatility.