Tires drop from US military chopper over Okinawa sky

March 9 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

In a helipad commonly called a “Falcon”, located at Camp Hansen in the vicinity of the Shirohara district of Ginoza Village on March 8, the U.S.Marines Corps in Okinawa resumed for the first time in about three months chopper flight training that involves suspending objects. The aircraft accidently dropped several vehicle tires from the sky into the base. Local resident Tadanobu Izumi, who witnessed the training, said, “We have requested the U.S. military not to fly around the village because an MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft belonging to the Futenma base in Ginowan crashed into shallow water off the coast of Abu in Nago City last December. We, the local residents, feel fear about the military flight training.”

In response to protest from the local citizens, the military had suspended training since December 9, 2016. According to the residents, the two military aircraft took off from the Falcon helipad around 2:30 p.m. on March 8. They carried out the flight training while suspending objects in the military area.

According to the Marine Corps, objects fell from the UH-1 helicopter. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

As of 9:30 p.m. on March 8, there was no confirmation regarding any damage to the local area. The U.S. military explained that they carried out the training for humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.

It is reported that the chopper hovered in the air area provided to the U.S. military in the Nakagawa district of Kin Town adjacent to Shirohara district for about 40 minutes from about 2:52 p.m. after the flight training. On the same day after the accident, staff of the Okinawa Defense Bureau rushed into the accident site and monitored whether or not the military had resumed training.

(English translation by T&CT)

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