Wednesday 29 May, 2024
HomeAir & AerospaceAir Platforms2 JMSDF SH-60K helicopters crash in the Pacific Ocean

2 JMSDF SH-60K helicopters crash in the Pacific Ocean

Two Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) SH-60K helicopters carrying eight crew members crashed in the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo during nighttime training in a possible mid-air collision, leaving one dead and seven others missing.

Contact with the helicopters was lost late Saturday near Torishima island, about 600 kilometres (370 miles) south of Tokyo, Minoru Kihara, Minister of Defense of Japan told reporters.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but officials believe the two helicopters “highly likely” collided before crashing into the water, Kihara said.

The Chief of Staff of Japan’s Navy, Admiral Ryo Sakai, has announced the suspension of training activities involving SH-60 helicopters until an investigation into the cause of a recent crash is completed.

The recovery team has found a flight data recorder, a blade from each helicopter, and fragments believed to be from both choppers in the same area. These findings suggest that the two SH-60Ks were flying closely together.

The search and rescue operation for the missing crew has been expanded with the deployment of 12 warships and seven aircraft. The Japan Coast Guard has also joined the mission with patrol boats and planes.

The SH-60K is an upgraded version of the SH-60J anti-submarine helicopter, developed by Mitsubishi in 1997 for the JMSDF. The SH-60K, formerly known as SH-60Kai, was adopted in March 2005 following the development of new main rotor blades, a Ship Landing Assist System, a new avionics system, and other systems.

Two prototypes of the SH-60K were built by modifying SH-60Js and completed and delivered by June 2002. The first production SH-60K was delivered to the JMSDF in August 2005.

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