Two Japanese Navy Sikorsky SH-60K Helicopters Collide, 1 Dead, 7 Missing

Defense officials have stated that there was no initial indication of aircraft issues.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 07:06 AM, April 22, 2024
  • 683
Two Japanese Navy Sikorsky SH-60K Helicopters Collide, 1 Dead, 7 Missing
Japanese SH-60K and U.S. Navy's MH-60R at Sagami-bay in November 2023 @JMSDF

The search for seven missing crew members of two Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) helicopters that are believed to have collided continued on Monday, with defense officials stating there was no initial indication of aircraft issues.

The incident occurred during nighttime anti-submarine training about 270 km east of Torishima in the Izu Islands late on April 20. Each SH-60K helicopter was carrying four crew members. Contact with the helicopters was lost between 10:38 pm and 11:04 pm local time on Saturday, and authorities spotted suspected helicopter debris during subsequent search efforts.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara confirmed that one crew member was killed, and seven others remain unaccounted for.

"We have not confirmed any data indicating issues with the aircraft during the flight," Kihara stated during a televised news conference on Monday, emphasizing ongoing efforts to analyze flight recorders and other data to determine the cause of the accident.

The collision involved SH-60K helicopters engaged in a training exercise, which Defense Chief Kihara described as a coordinated effort involving submarine detection and mock attacks.

While a collision warning system was reportedly not activated, the ministry is investigating whether it malfunctioned or was manually turned off. The search operation is challenging due to the depth of the waters, approximately 5,500 m.

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