Door of Japanese chopper falls off, lands on island

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Tokyo, March 7 (IANS) A door fell off an Air Self-Defence Force (ASDF) transport helicopter and landed on a remote island in the southwest of Japan, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

The accident, which involved a large rear cargo door weighing over 30 kg plummeting from a CH-47 transport helicopter on Tuesday and onto a field, caused no injuries or damage, the Japan Times reported.

The incident occurred as the large transportation chopper was flying over Okinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said.

The CH-47 transport helicopter which lost its door was carrying four crew members when the incident occurred at about 6.50 p.m. on Tuesday.

The chopper was involved in training drills at the time of the accident, taking off and landing at a small base on Okinoerabu Island.

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The helicopter belonged to Naha Air Base in nearby Okinawa Prefecture. Onodera said he had ordered the ASDF and the Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF) to carry out safety checks on the cargo doors of all its CH-47 helicopters.

The ASDF said it was looking into the reason why the cargo door fell off.

Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono referred to the military mishap as “extremely regrettable” and called for a thorough investigation.

This is the latest in a string of accidents and mishaps involving SDF aircraft. On February 5, a GSDF attack helicopter nose-dived into a residential house in Saga Prefecture in Japan’s southwest, killing both crew members and setting the house on fire.

–IANS

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