U.S. UH-60 crash-lands on ship off Okinawa, all onboard survive
A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with 17 people onboard crashed while attempting to land on a ship east of Ikei Island off Okinawa’s west coast Wednesday afternoon.
According to Japan Coast Guard, all 17 onboard survived the hard landing with 7 of them injured. The injured personnel were transported to the U.S. Navy Hospital on Camp Foster. The extent of their injuries is not yet known. The cause of the mishap is under investigation.
Japan Coast Guard was informed about the crash about 3 p.m. and the Coast Guard dispatched patrol boats and aircraft to the area. The Coast Guard say no oil leaks have been spotted.
The wreckage of the helicopter was shown in a news program of the Japanese NHK news broadcast lying onboard USS Mitchell Redcloud, a U.S. Sealift Command pre-positioned ship, on which the helicopter was attempting to land. The video showed the wreckage with its tail broken off and partly covered with a tarp.
Okinawa Governor Takashi Onaga wasted no time to point out to visiting Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga the risks of having a concentration of U.S. military forces on the island. Suga is in Naha for the first round of ‘intensive’ talks with the Okinawa Government about the relocation of the MCAS Futenma to Henoko. “For those who live near the bases, it’s a serious matter,” Onagae said at the outset of the Wednesday talks.
On his part, Suga called the accident “extremely regrettable.” He told the media that he has lodged a protest with the U.S. military, and is asking for a prompt disclosure of all relevant facts, a thorough investigation to the cause, and implementing measures to prevent similar accidents in the future.