Crews searching the coast of Japan after a U.S. military aircraft crashed near Yakushima Island last week found the remains of five people Monday, raising the death toll from the incident to at least six.
Authorities said eight people were onboard the U.S. Air Force CV-22B Osprey for a training mission on Nov. 29 when it crashed, The Associated Press reported.
Hours after the aircraft first vanished, Japanese officials found the body of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” Galliher, 24, a direct support operator from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, who was based out of Yokota Air Base in Japan.
“Jacob was a beloved husband, father, son, and brother as well as a model Airman who will be forever remembered for his dedication to this great nation and his fellow warriors,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Gilbert Summers, commander of the 43d Intelligence Squadron detachment where Galliher worked, said Sunday in a statement.
“With a ready smile, Jake brought the unit together on and off-duty through humor and an inexhaustible supply of energy, whether it was on the aircraft, in the gym, or on the slopes with the team. Everywhere he went, and everyone he met, was made better for him being there.”
Crews from the U.S. and Japan searched the area by air, on the surface and underwater to find the other missing crewmembers. Air Force Special Forces Command said the searchers had a breakthrough Monday when surface ships and dive teams found remains along with the main fuselage of the wrecked Osprey.
The five people whose remains were found on Monday were not immediately identified.
Officials said search and recovery efforts continue.
“The coalition of military, coast guard, law enforcement, mariners, and local volunteers remain steadfast in locating and bringing the US Service Members back to their units and their families,” Air Force Special Forces Command said Monday.