Three more bodies of crew members of a U.S. military Osprey aircraft that crashed last week in waters off southwestern Japan were recovered on Wednesday, people close to the matter said.

With the latest retrieval from the sea, six of the eight crew members aboard the aircraft have been recovered.

Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter shows U.S. military personnel on an inflatable boat in waters around the Osprey crash site off Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on Dec. 6, 2023. (Kyodo)

The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command said Tuesday that it has shifted its efforts from search and rescue to recovery operations.

The Japan Coast Guard, which has been taking part in the operation, continued its search for the remaining two crew members.

The U.S. Air Force's CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, assigned to Yokota Air Base in the western suburbs of Tokyo, disappeared from radar at around 2:40 p.m. on Nov. 29 off Yakushima Island and crashed into nearby waters.

It was heading to the Kadena Air Base in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa from the U.S. military base in Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan.

According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, the crash is the deadliest accident involving U.S. Ospreys, although 19 people were killed during a trial run in 2000.

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