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Remains of airman from Osprey crash identified, others remain missing

The remains of an airman who died in a U.S. Osprey military aircraft crash in Japan have been identified, while the seven others aboard are still missing.

The man has been identified as U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” M. Galliher, who was 24 years old. Galliher was a direct support operator and assigned to the Kadena Air Base in Japan, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) released Saturday.

Galliher is originally from Pittsfield, Mass., and enlisted in the Air Force in 2017.

AFSOC said the U.S. military is still working alongside Japanese allies to continue the search and rescue operation for the CV-22 crew.

According to Japanese coast guard officials, an Osprey crashed near the island of Yakushima on Wednesday afternoon. A Department of Defense spokesperson said the crash happened while the aircraft was performing a routine training mission.

A Japanese news service reported the aircraft rolled over mid-flight, describing a fire in one of the engines and an explosion that occurred before the aircraft headed toward the water. AFSOC said the cause of the crash is still unknown.

The current search and rescue operation for the remaining individuals consists of air, surface, and subsurface area searches of the water and coastline, AFSOC said in a statement released Saturday.

“Our focus is to enable the ongoing, extensive, 24/7 search and rescue operation while we care for the family and loved ones impacted by this mishap,” Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, an AFSOC commander, said in the statement. “As search and rescue operations continue, our joint force and Japanese allies stand united in our determination to bring our Air Commandos home.”

Japanese allies have been “integral in the search,” AFSOC said.

Rear Adm. Jeromy Williams, a Pacific commander for AFSOC, said he wanted to assure the families that the search and rescue efforts will continue and “include every possible capability at our disposal.”

“We want to extend sincere gratitude to the Government of Japan’s Self Defense Force, Coast Guard, law enforcement and civilian volunteers for their tireless assistance in the search and rescue operations for our Airmen,” Williams said in a statement.

Ospreys carry special operations troops and are hybrid aircraft that are similar to helicopters but are much faster. They have been criticized after several crashes occurred in recent years.

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