Tokyo, August 12, AZERTAC
A U.S. military helicopter crashed off Okinawa's main island on Wednesday afternoon, injuring six crew members, U.S. Forces Japan said, according to Kyodo News.
The crash occurred as the helicopter tried to land on a U.S. vessel in the Pacific Ocean, about 14 kilometers southeast of Ikei Island of Okinawa, and all 17 aboard were rescued, according to the Japan Coast Guard, quoting U.S forces in Japan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who is in Okinawa for a meeting with Gov. Takeshi Onaga, told reporters that the Japanese government has asked the United States to look into the crash.
"The government strongly asked the U.S. side to swiftly provide information, investigate the cause, and take steps to prevent a recurrence," Japan's top government spokesman said.
In a statement, U.S. Forces Japan said a U.S. Army H-60 helicopter was "damaged during a hard deck landing" at 1:46 p.m. aboard the Red Cloud ship of the U.S. military. The aircraft was conducting a training mission at the time of the crash and is now on the ship's deck, it added.
The Japan Coast Guard said no oil leak in the sea has been confirmed near the crash site.
Okinawa has been plagued with crashes involving U.S. military helicopters and fighter aircraft, and Wednesday's crash came a day before the 11th anniversary of the crash of a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter at Okinawa International University in Ginowan, which injured three crew members.
In August 2013, a U.S. Air Force helicopter crashed at the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Hansen, killing one crew member.