US Army Helicopter Crashes Off Japanese Island of Okinawa – American Military News

US Army Helicopter Crashes Off Japanese Island of Okinawa

Today an Army helicopter crashed off the coast of Okianawa. Seven people of the 17 people on board were injured. The helicopter was sitting on a U.S. warship off the coast after performing a hard-deck landing. In the picture above you can see the Black Hawk with its tail broken off.

NBC News reports:

The incident happened at 1:46 p.m. (12:46 a.m. ET Wednesday) about 20 miles east of Okinawa. The helicopter was conducting a training mission at the time and the cause was under investigation, military officials said.

From NBC News:

The UH-60 Black Hawk performed a “hard-deck landing” on the USNS Red Cloud, the U.S. Pacific Command said. Aerial footage broadcast by NHK showed the chopper with part of its tail broken off.

Of the 17 people on board, seven were injured and transported to a U.S. naval hospital on Okinawa, according to the U.S. Pacific Command. It previously said six people were injured but then revised the figure.

The incident happened at 1:46 p.m. (12:46 a.m. ET Wednesday) about 20 miles east of Okinawa. The helicopter was conducting a training mission at the time and the cause was under investigation, military officials said.

Japanese patrol boats and helicopters were initially sent to search for the helicopter and its crew.

However, Okinawa coast guard spokesman Yosuke Watanuki said it later received a call from U.S. Camp Foster military police, calling off the request for assistance.

More background from Fox News which talks about the politics of keeping about 25,000 troops on Okinawa. Some residents of Okinawa want the troops off the island. Perhaps they will stand up to China’s military aggression and expansion in the region then? Didn’t think so.

Japan’s Defense Ministry had said earlier that the helicopter, a UH-60, crashed into the sea about 20 miles (30 kilometers) east of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa.

Japanese national broadcaster NHK showed video of the helicopter sitting on the warship, with its tail broken off and covered with an orange tarp.

The presence of thousands of U.S. troops on Okinawa — where more than half of about 50,000 American troops in Japan are concentrated — has been a source of friction. A plan formulated in 1996 between the Japanese and American governments would move U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma from a populated neighborhood to a less developed area, but Okinawans worried about safety, crime and noise want the base moved off the island altogether.

Wednesday’s accident coincided with Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s visit to the island for talks with Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, a vocal opponent of the relocation plan.

“For those who live near (U.S.) bases, it’s a serious matter,” he said at the outset of the talks, reminding Suga of Okinawa’s burden and risk of accommodating the U.S. military bases.

Read more at NBC News

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