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1 dead and 7 missing when two military helicopters crashed at sea

Tokyo: One died and seven people were missing when two Japanese military helicopters crashed at sea overnight. The SH-60 patrol helicopters crashed into the sea during a training exercise. The helicopters were conducting anti-submarine exercises near Torishima in the remote Izu island group, off the southern coast of central Japan, on Saturday evening.

“Rescuers spotted what is believed to be part of the aircraft in the sea and we believe the two helicopters have crashed. At this time the cause is unknown, but first we will do our best to save lives,” Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told reporters.

According to reports, communications with one helicopter were lost outside Torishima Island at 10:38 PM (1338 GMT). A minute later a distress signal was received from this aircraft. About 25 minutes later, around 11:04 p.m., communication with the second helicopter in the same area was lost.

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The Mitsubishi SH-60K helicopters involved in the crash are operated by the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF), primarily on and from naval destroyers.

Earlier in November in Japan, a US Osprey military aircraft crashed, resulting in the deaths of all eight on board and the subsequent grounding of similar aircraft by both the United States and Japan. Last April, a Japanese Army UH-60JA helicopter with ten on board crashed near Miyako Island (southern Okinawa) with no survivors.

In January 2022, a Japanese fighter jet crashed off the central Ishikawa region, killing two pilots. Moreover, the pilot was killed in 2019 after an F-35A stealth jet crashed into the sea during a training mission after taking off from northeastern Japan.

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