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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 11 - 17  > US CH-53E chopper crashes near Takae community in Okinawa
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2017 October 11 - 17 [US FORCES]

US CH-53E chopper crashes near Takae community in Okinawa

October 12 & 14, 2017
A U.S. CH-53E military helicopter on October 11 crashed near a residential area in the Takae district in Okinawa’s Higashi Village, Akahata reported.

According to information that Akahata obtained from the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau, the crash occurred at around 5:30 p.m. A CH-53E Sea Stallion heavy-lift transport helicopter stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma base in Okinawa caught fire during the flight. It crashed on private land near the U.S. military’s Northern Training field which stretches over Higashi and Kunigami villages, bursting into flames. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The same type of aircraft in August 2004 crashed into a building at Okinawa International University and burst into flames on the university grounds.

Japanese Communist Party member of the Higashi Village Assembly Isa Masatsugu said that the military chopper plunged into a meadow, only a few hundreds meters away from the Takae community. Pointing out that within one kilometer from the crash site, there are pig farms and herbal production farms and facilities, Isa said, “Recalling the past emergency landing by a U.S. military copter, farmers are angered by the crash, saying their worst fear has come true.”

Inamine Susumu, mayor of Nago City where the construction of an alternative facility for the Futenma base is underway, expressed his anger and said, “Everyone, regardless of whether they are conservatives or progressives, can be victimized by a U.S. military aircraft crash.”

* * *

On October 14, it was found that this aircraft also made an emergency landing in June of this year at Kume-jima Airport in Okinawa.

The U.S. Naval Safety Center classified the October 11 accident as a Class A mishap, the most critical level on the scale of A to D. The center noted that the CH-53E engine caught fire in flight which forced an emergency landing. However, the fact is that the copter in question caught fire while in-flight and was crashed in a meadow.

Past related article:
> Univ. in Okinawa marks 9th anniversary of US chopper crash onto its campus [August 14, 2013]
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