Self-Defense Force Chopper Crashes in Southwestern Japan, Killing Two (News)


Kanzaki, Saga Pref., Feb. 5 (Jiji Press)—An attack helicopter of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force on Monday crashed into private housing in the city of Kanzaki, Saga Prefecture, southwestern Japan, and burst into flames.

The site of the Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter crash on February, 6, 2018, the morning after the accident in Kanzaki, Saga Prefecture, as taken from a helicopter chartered by Jiji Press. (© Jiji)

One of the two GSDF crew members—Takayama Hiroki, a 26-year-old master sergeant and copilot of the AH-64D helicopter—was found in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest at the crash site and confirmed dead later.

The Saga prefectural police department and others are searching for the chopper's captain, Lt. Col. Saitō Ken'ichi, 43. (Saitō was later found and declared dead.—Ed.)

The GSDF set up a committee to investigate the accident. It will collect the flight recorder of the helicopter to look into the cause of the crash, which happened around 4:45 p.m.

According to the police, a two-story private house and an adjacent storage facility were destroyed by a fire from the crash. An 11-year-old elementary school girl, a resident of the house, hit her right knee and was slightly injured. She was transported to a hospital.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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