Wreckage discovered during the search for a missing Japanese GSDF helicopter

Japanese Helicopter crash wreckage
Source: Unsplash

Floating wreckage that might be aircraft pieces was discovered during a search for the missing Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) helicopter carrying ten passengers, including a lieutenant general.

The four-bladed, twin-engine UH60 Black Hawk helicopter vanished from radar screens near Okinawa’s Miyakojima Island at approximately 3.55 p.m. on Thursday, shortly after taking off to assess adjacent land features, according to the military.

General Yasunori Morishita, chief of staff of the GSDF, stated during a press conference that the multifunctional chopper, which belongs to a unit of the GSDF’s 8th Division stationed in Kumamoto prefecture, is thought to have been involved in an aviation accident, according to Xinhua news agency.

Two pilots, two mechanics, and six crew members were on board, all of them were SDF personnel whose locations are still unknown, including Lieutenant General Yuichi Sakamoto, the division’s 55-year-old leader, Morishita revealed.

According to the Japan Coast Guard, which despatched patrol ships to adjacent seas in search of the helicopter, oil and items, including what seemed to be a rotor blade, were discovered in the sea region where the accident is suspected to have occurred.

It was also discovered in a folded form, with no one on board, a lifeboat emblazoned with GSDF signs.

The GSDF is attempting to determine if the items are those of the missing helicopter.

“We are putting maximum priority on human life and rescue operations,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters in Tokyo.

Rough weather conditions were not reported around the time the helicopter went missing.