1 dead, 7 missing after 2 Japan Self-Defense Forces helicopters crash near Izu Islands

Two helicopters of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force have crashed over the sea east of Torishima of the Izu Islands, and one person on board has been confirmed dead.
1 dead, 7 missing after 2 Japan Self-Defense Forces helicopters crash near Izu Islands

In this file photo taken on September 2, 2013, a Japanese Maritime Defense Forces' SH-60K helicopter (right) is seen on the DDH-181 Hyuga warship at Harumi pier in Tokyo.

One death has been confirmed after two patrol helicopters of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) crashed over the sea near Izu Islands on Sunday morning, according to the country's defense ministry.

Among the eight members on board, one was reported dead after being rescued, while the remaining seven are missing, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told the press, citing a possibility that the two aircraft collided in the air on Sunday morning.

In addition, a part of the aircraft, including the blade of the rotary wing, was found around the site, so it was determined that the two aircraft crashed.

The MSDF spotted what is believed to have been helicopter debris during a post-accident search, Kihara added, noting that two flight recorders were found nearby and recovered.

The two SH60K patrol helicopters, each carrying four crew members, disappeared on Saturday night during a nighttime anti-submarine drill in the waters east of Torishima island, part of the Izu island chain, according to the defense ministry.

The two MSDF aircraft lost communication at around 10:38pm and 11:04pm local time, respectively.

A vessel that participated in the drill received an emergency signal one minute after the first helicopter lost communication, according to multiple local media outlets.

The SH60K patrol helicopter has a total length of about 20 meters and a width of more than 16 meters, with two engines and a crew of four people, the MSDF website showed.

Equipped with a dedicated device for detecting submarines, it is mainly mounted and operated on escort ships.

In April last year, 10 people died after a UH60JA helicopter of the Ground Self-Defense Force crashed into the sea in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture.

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