(Bloomberg) -- The Government Accountability Office has agreed to a congressional request to look into the safety record of the $56 billion V-22 Osprey program after a November crash in the Pacific that killed eight Air Force Special Operations airmen.

“GAO accepts your request as work that is within the scope of its authority” and staff to do the work will be available shortly, A. Nicole Clowers, GAO managing director for congressional relations, wrote the lawmakers on Dec. 19 in a letter obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Nov. 29 training mission crash off the southwestern Japanese island of Yakushima, along with three other crashes in recent years, prompted the request from Representative Mike Waltz, a Florida Republican who chairs the House Armed Services readiness panel, and John Garamendi of California, the panel’s top Democrat.

The Naval Air Systems Command, which manages the overall program, ordered a grounding of the V-22 fleet last month that remains in effect. The grounding affects as many as 348 aircraft for the Marines, 51 for the Air Force and 29 for the Navy, according Naval Air Systems Command and Air Force Special Operations Command statistics.

Air Force Special Operations Command spokeswoman Lt. Col. Rebecca Heyse said in statement that the downed aircraft’s “Voice and Data Recorder,” known as the “Black Box” has been recovered. Seven bodies have been retrieved. The eighth airman’s body has not yet been found. 

“The equipment will be transported to laboratories for data retrieval with follow analysis of the data” at the command headquarters, Heyse said. “We expect the analysis process to take several weeks. Additionally, the vast majority of the aircraft was recovered.”

Earlier: US Military Grounds Osprey Aircraft After Deadly Crash

The lawmakers asked the GAO to pursue several questions, including whether there are any trends with the accidents and what causes have been associated with them. They also asked the GAO to probe whether maintenance and supply issues have hurt the availability of the Osprey, a tiltrotar aircraft that combines characteristics of helicopters and airplanes and is manufactured by a unit of Boeing Co. and the Bell Helicopter unit of Textron Inc. 

The GAO should also probe steps that have been taken “to reduce or prevent accidents involving the Osprey and to what extent are additional actions warranted to enhance the safe operation of the aircraft,” according to the letter.

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