Andover man identified as one of 8 airmen killed in Osprey crash
Federal authorities say one of the eight men aboard an aircraft that crashed off the shores of Japan last week is from Minnesota.
According to the United States Air Force, Maj. Jeffrey Hoernemann, 32, of Andover, was one of the eight airmen in the Osprey that crashed during a training mission off the southern coast of Japan on Nov. 29.
Hoernemann was listed by the Air Force as a CV-22 instructor pilot and an officer in charge of training. He was assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing at Yokota Air Base in Japan.
His family released a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Tuesday, saying, “Our hearts are shattered along with families of the other crew members, and we mourn their loss as well. They were all the best of the best.”
So far, the Air Force says the remains of three airmen have been recovered, and the remains of another three have been found and are in the process of being recovered. Meanwhile, authorities are still searching for the remains of the other two airmen.
The other service members were identified as the following:
- U.S. Air Force Maj. Eric Spendlove of St. George, Utah
- U.S. Air Force Maj. Luke Unrath of Riverside, California
- U.S. Air Force Capt. Terrell Brayman of Pittsford, New York
- U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Zachary Lavoy of Oviedo, Florida
- U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jake Turnage of Kennesaw, Georgia
- U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliger of Pittsfield, Massachusetts
- U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brian Johnson of Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Ospreys have had a number of crashes, including in Japan, where they are used at U.S. and Japanese military bases, and the latest accident has rekindled safety concerns.
The U.S.-made Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster, like an airplane, during flight.
As previously reported last week, Japan announced a day after the crash it had suspended flights by its Osprey aircraft. In addition, authorities said it asked the U.S. military to ground all Ospreys operating in Japan except for those joining the search operations at the crash site. However, officials at the Pentagon said at that time that U.S. Ospreys continue to operate out of Japan.
Hoernemann is the second Minnesota service member to be killed within a month.
As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in November, Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe, 24, died during a crash involving an MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in the Mediterranean Sea. Wolfe was one of five U.S. Army Special Operations aviation soldiers to die in that crash.