A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of Japan on Tuesday, prompting a formal investigation into its cause.
The aircraft crashed about six miles off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, with five crew members on board, defense officials said Tuesday. Two of the Marines were injured in the crash, multiple sources reported.
An Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk combat rescue helicopter from the 33rd Rescue Squadron at Kadena Air Base airlifted the Marines, and they are currently recovering at the United States Naval Hospital at Camp Foster in Okinawa, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters on Tuesday.
The Pentagon will formally investigate the cause of the crash, he said.
"[There] is obviously an important military capability that the Osprey provides," David said. "It contributes to the security of Japan and the region. We will absolutely get to the bottom of the cause of it and ensure we learn from it so it doesn't happen again. That's what we do."
The service members belong to the Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, based in Okinawa.
The incident was the second time in the past week that a Marine aircraft crashed in the area of Japan. Marine Capt. Jake Frederick was killed last week when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed in the Pacific Ocean roughly 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni, Japan. The cause of the crash, which occurred during training, is currently unknown.
The crash on Tuesday was also the eighth such incident involving Marine Corps aircraft in 2016, according to a tally by Fox News. Crashes have been less frequent in previous years, with six involving Marine aircraft reported in 2015 and three in 2014.
The Pentagon's watchdog launched an audit into the readiness of Marine Corps aviation units in October as part of a series of audits looking at readiness of the U.S. military.
News of the audit became public after the Marines Corps released the findings of an investigation into the January helicopter crash off the coast of Oahu that killed a dozen Marines. The probe pinned the collision of two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters on pilot error and lack of training.