Japanese Military Chopper Missing with Ten Onboard

Thu Apr 06 2023
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TOKYO: A Japanese military helicopter with ten people on board disappeared from radar on Thursday near an island in the Okinawa region, army officials said.

The helicopter had been on a reconnaissance mission when it disappeared in the afternoon, in what the Ground Self-Defense Force described as an “aerial accident”.

Search and rescue operations are underway, GSDF chief of staff Yasunori Morishita told journalists.

He said that to rescue all on board as soon as possible; the administration would continue to do its utmost… using the aircraft and vessels of the maritime and air self-defence troops and coastguard patrol vessels.

Morishita said that what appeared to be a part of the aircraft had been found. However, it was unclear whether it belonged to the helicopter in question.

He added two pilots, six crew members and two mechanics on board, including a GSDF general from the eighth division.

The aircraft belonged to the army’s branch in the Kumamoto region, the public broadcaster NHK reported.

NHK said that after taking off from Okinawa’s Miyako island before 4:00 pm, it was slated to have returned after an hour-long flight.

Japanese PM comments

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the government’s priority is saving lives. 

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