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Two Japanese military helicopters crash into the sea during an exercise, leaving one dead and seven missing

The planes took part in a “nighttime anti-submarine warfare exercise,” Japan’s defense minister said. It is possible that they ‘collided’.

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Japanese army boats search the waters of the Izu Archipelago after the crash of two helicopters, April 21, 2024. (NORIAKI SASAKI / YOMIURI)

The cause of the accident is still unknown. Two Japan Self-Defense Force helicopters crashed into the sea late Saturday evening. One crew member was found dead and seven others are still missing, Japanese authorities announced on Sunday, April 21. The aircraft took part in a “night anti-submarine warfare exercise”, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told the press.

Suspected debris from these devices was spotted by sea rescue services, the minister added. He also clarified that the ministry had done so “discovered the flight recorders at locations close to each other”and so he was “It is entirely possible that (the deux hélicoptères) collided.” The helicopters crashed off the coast of the Izu Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

“The flight recorders are being analyzed and authorities are questioning the crew of a third helicopter that participated in the exercise but was not involved in the accident.”, the Navy chief said. Communication with one of the devices was lost at 10:38 PM local time. About 25 minutes later, authorities realized that communications with the second helicopter had also been lost, NHK said.

These were two Mitsubishi SH-60Ks, Japanese-made patrol helicopters belonging to the Maritime Self-Defense Force, the naval branch of the FJA. A year ago, a Japanese military helicopter of a different model (UH-60JA) crashed into the sea in the Okinawa area, southwest of Japan, killing ten people on board.

This new fatal accident involving this hybrid aircraft – which could take off and land vertically like a helicopter and fly like an airplane – had prompted the US military to suspend all flights of its Ospreys around the world for three months, time to to carry out action. investigation into the circumstances of this new tragedy.

source site-29