Japanese MoD in tears: Black Hawk helo crash, debris was found
TOKYO, JAPAN — In an attempt to hold back his tears, Japanese Defense Minister Mr. Yasukazu Hamada said that Japan has not yet discovered the 10-man crew of a combat helicopter. The helicopter is believed to be a Black Hawk. The incident happened on Thursday after the Japanese military lost contact with the helicopter crew during the flight.
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The search for survivors is ongoing. Debris was found in the sea – doors, a boat, and other fragments. However, the Japanese Ministry of Defense has not given up on the search for the missing crew. According to the minister, Tokyo is doing and will do everything possible to find “its people”. The ministry also announced that in addition to a search operation, a second operation is currently underway to collect more debris and information about the cause of the crash. Japan’s Mo said an assessment of the damage was pending.
The UH-60JA Black Hawk disappeared from Japanese defense radars on Thursday afternoon. The helicopter was sent on a reconnaissance mission in the southern islands of Japan. Information about the mission was made public after the incident by Ground Self-Defense Force Chief Yasunori Morishita.
The incident is quite strange as it happened almost immediately after the helicopter took off within 10 minutes. There are already the first guesses from various Japanese sources. One of them suggests that the Japanese aircraft crashed in the water between Miyako and the nearby island of Irabu to the northwest. The area is about 1,800 kilometers [1,120 miles] southwest of Tokyo.
The discovery of the first wreckage – a lifeboat – confirms that the accident is related to the helicopter. Her serial number matches the one listed as inventory on board the helicopter. The boat was located by Coast Guard vessels. Sailors later discover a door believed to be part of the same helicopter.
The alleged conflict between China and Taiwan, with the participation of the US and allies, has forced Japan to build up its defense capabilities quite actively in recent years. The southwestern islands where the helicopter crashed are a key part of Tokyo’s defense strategy.
Kumamoto Prefecture was home to the crashed helicopter. An army base has been built there, which Tokyo considers being key and strategic. Kyusho is the main Japanese island in this prefecture. According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the helicopter that crashed had passed all trials, tests, and maintenance. Bill is fully upright, the ministry says. Especially since it becomes clear that the last technical inspection was in March.
One of the 10 crew members is Division Commander Yuichi Sakamoto, who was just promoted to the post at the end of March.
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