Wednesday, May 22, 2024

2 Japanese navy helicopters crash in Pacific

On the evening of the 20th, two Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopters, SH-60Ks, went missing while conducting training approximately 280 kilometers east of Torishima in the Izu Islands.

Flight recorders were found in close proximity, leading the Ministry of Defense to conclude that both helicopters had crashed.

There are suspicions of a mid-air collision.

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A total of eight individuals were aboard the two helicopters. One has been rescued, but tragically, one casualty has been confirmed. The Self-Defense Forces, with support from 12 vessels, seven aircraft, helicopters, and airplanes, as well as assistance from the Japan Coast Guard, continue the search for the remaining seven missing persons.

According to the Ministry, at 10:38 p.m. on the 20th, contact was lost with one helicopter from the Omura Air Base in Nagasaki Prefecture, followed by an emergency signal at 10:39 p.m. Subsequently, at 11:04 p.m., contact was lost with another helicopter from the Komatsushima Air Base in Tokushima Prefecture. Though signals from this aircraft have not been confirmed, simultaneous transmission from close proximity suggests a possibility of overlap.

During the search near the incident site, fragments of both helicopters, including rotor blades, were discovered and recovered.

Each of the two helicopters carried a crew of four, including pilots and aviation officers responsible for radar and sonar operations. The training involved nighttime anti-submarine warfare utilizing sonar to detect submarines. It has been reported that apart from the participating Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels and aircraft, there were no other entities present in the vicinity.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Daisuke Sato
Daisuke Sato
Daisuke Sato is defense reporter, covering the Asia-Pacific defense industrial base, defense markets and all related issues. He has covered the US and Japan bilateral exercises for several years.

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