2 Japanese Navy Helicopters Crash within the Pacific Ocean Throughout Coaching, Leaving 1 Useless and seven Lacking

TOKYO (AP) — Two Japanese navy helicopters carrying eight crew members crashed within the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo throughout nighttime coaching in a attainable collision, leaving one lifeless whereas rescuers on Sunday looked for seven others lacking, the protection minister stated.

The 2 SH-60K choppers from the Maritime Self-Protection Drive have been carrying 4 crew every and misplaced contact late Saturday close to Torishima island, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) south of Tokyo, Protection Minister Minoru Kihara informed reporters.

The reason for the crash was not instantly recognized, however officers imagine the 2 helicopters “extremely possible” collided earlier than crashing into the water, Kihara stated.

The navy chief of workers, Adm. Ryo Sakai, stated coaching involving the SH-60s will likely be suspended till the reason for the crash is set and preventive measures are adopted.

Rescuers recovered a flight knowledge recorder, a blade from every helicopter, and fragments believed to be from each choppers in the identical space, indicators that the 2 SH-60Ks have been flying shut to one another, Kihara stated.

Search and rescue efforts for the lacking crew have been expanded Sunday with the deployment of 12 warships and 7 plane. Japan coast guard patrol boats and planes additionally joined the operation.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel provided his nation’s to assist with the search and rescue.

“We are going to stand collectively, facet by facet, with our buddy and ally, Japan. My ideas are with the crew members, and their households and pals throughout this difficult time,” he wrote on the social platform X.

The dual-engine, multi-mission helicopters developed by Sikorsky and referred to as Seahawks have been modified and produced in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. They have been on nighttime anti-submarine coaching, Kihara stated. One misplaced contact at 10:38 p.m. and despatched an computerized emergency sign a minute later.

Just one misery sign, known as an emergency locator transmitter, was heard — one other signal the helicopters have been close to the identical place, as a result of their indicators use the identical frequency and couldn’t be differentiated, Kihara stated.

One helicopter belonged to an air base in Nagasaki, and the opposite to a base in Tokushima prefecture. Officers have been interviewing the pilot of a 3rd plane that additionally participated in Saturday’s coaching, Kihara stated.

The SH-60K plane is often deployed on destroyers for anti-submarine warfare, however can be used for search and rescue and different missions. Japan has about 70 of the modified helicopters.

Saturday’s coaching solely concerned the Japanese navy and was not a part of a multinational train, protection officers stated.

Japan, beneath its 2022 safety technique, has been accelerating its army buildup and fortifying deterrence within the southwestern Japanese islands within the Pacific and East China Sea to counter threats from China’s more and more assertive army actions. Japan in recent times has carried out its personal in depth naval workout routines in addition to joint drills with its ally the USA and different companions.

Saturday’s coaching was a part of routine drills involving warships, submarines and Seahawk helicopters, the Japanese navy chief of workers stated. Throughout coaching, a variety of helicopters hover collectively as they decrease sonars into the water to detect submarines.

In 2017, a Japanese navy SH-60J, an earlier technology Seahawk, crashed throughout nighttime coaching as a result of human error, killing three crew. In July 2021, two SH-60s had a minor collision off the southern island of Amamioshima, each struggling blade injury, however inflicting no accidents.

Following the 2021 collision, the navy launched a set of preventive measures to make sure sufficient distance between plane. Sakai stated Saturday’s crash might have been prevented if all security measures have been adequately adopted.

Within the U.S., the deadly crash of a MH-60S Seahawk throughout coaching off California in 2021 was attributed to mechanical failure from unsuspected injury throughout upkeep, in line with the Navy.

The crash in Japan additionally comes a 12 months after a Floor Self-Protection Drive UH-60 Blackhawk crashed off the southwestern island of Miyako as a result of an engine output drawback referred to as “rollback,” leaving all 10 crew members lifeless.

Japan’s NHK public tv stated no climate advisories have been issued within the space on the time of Saturday’s crash.

Story Continues

© Copyright 2024 Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.