Camera drops from U.S. military helicopter

November 1, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 1, it was revealed that an HH-60 rescue helicopter belonging to Kadena Air Base may have dropped its mounted camera during training. According to the Okinawa Defense Bureau, after returning from a flight training exercise U.S. military personnel realized that the camera was not attached. The military did not specify when the accident occurred. The same type of helicopter crashed at Camp Hansen in Ginoza on August 5, killing one crewmember.

According to the defense bureau, the camera measures about 5 cm by 6 cm by 9 cm and weighs 0.5 kg. Because after the helicopter took off from Kadena Air Base and passed over the sea before entering the training area the defense bureau speculates that the helicopter may have dropped the camera either in the Central Training Area or in the sea. While the defense bureau has not been notified by the U.S. military of the date, the military did comment that the helicopter left the base at 3:38 p.m. and returned to Kadena at 6:00 p.m. that same day.

On October 30, the defense bureau requested that the U.S. military take steps to prevent a recurrence and to investigate the cause, as well as to convey this information to the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the relevant municipalities. A spokesperson for the Okinawa Prefectural Government said, “We have not received reports of any damage. We are considering how to respond, including lodging a protest with the U.S. military after we have collected more information.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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