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COA News 2024

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Two Japanese MSDF helicopters crash in the Pacific Ocean, killing 1; 7 are still missing

Two Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol helicopters crashed during a night exercise over the Pacific Ocean, killing at least one crew member and leaving seven missing.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said on April 21 that the aircraft, SH60K patrol helicopters with a crew of four each, most likely collided during the anti-submarine warfare exercise near the Izu island chain south of Tokyo.

Flight training with SH60K helicopters was suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into the cause of the crash.

The Defense Ministry said the plane belonged to Omura Air Base in Nagasaki Prefecture and Komatsushima Air Base in Tokushima Prefecture.

Communications with one of the helicopters were lost at 10:38 PM on April 20 and a distress signal was received a minute later.

Communication with the other was lost at 11:04 p.m

The planes were operating east of Torishima island at the time.

Eight MSDF ships and five aircraft then searched the area, and one body was recovered, as well as the two flight recorders.

Aircraft debris was also found.

Kihara said the incident did not appear to involve any other country.

First and foremost, we will do our utmost to save lives, he said.

TThe Japan Meteorological Agency said it had no information about wunder all circumstances at the time of the incident, but no Warnings or advisories were in effect for the southern part of the Izu Islands.

Torishima is a small uninhabited island more than 500 kilometers south of Tokyo.

SDF helicopters have been involved in a spate of accidents in recent years, mainly due to engine failure or human error.

In April last year, a Ground SDF UH60JA helicopter crashed near Miyakojima Island in Okinawa Prefecture, killing 10 people on board, including the commander of the 8th Division.

The Defense Department concluded last month that one of the two engines gradually lost power, followed by a loss of power from the other engine, making it impossible to maintain altitude.

An SH60J maritime SDF helicopter crashed during a night training exercise over the Sea of ​​Japan near Aomori Prefecture in August 2017, killing two people and leaving one missing.

According to the Ministry of Defense, human error was responsible for the crash, as an investigation into the plane wreckage found nothing wrong.