Door falls from Japanese ASDF chopper in latest military aircraft mishap

Huang Panyue

A door fell off an Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) transport helicopter and landed on a remote island in the southwest of Japan, the defense ministry said Wednesday.

The accident, which involved a large rear cargo door which weighed just over 30 kilograms plumetting from a CH-47 transport helicopter on Tuesday and onto a field, caused no injuries or damage according to the latest reports.

The incident occurred as the large transportation chopper was flying over Okinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told a press briefing on the matter on Wednesday morning.

Onodera said he has ordered the ASDF and the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) to carry out safety checks on the cargo doors of all its CH-47 helicopters.

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

The CH-47 transport helicopter which lost its door was carrying 4 crew members when the incident occurred at about 6:50 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

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

The helicopter belongs to Naha Air Base in nearby Okinawa Prefecture.

Kagoshima Gov. Satoshi Mitazono referred to the latest military mishap as "extremely regrettable" and called for a thorough investigation.

"I want the ASDF to do its utmost not to impact the safety of the people of this prefecture," he said.

This is the latest in a string of accidents and mishaps involving SDF aircraft recently.

On Feb. 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 ablaze.

The fatal accident may have been as a result of the helicopter's main rotor becoming detached mid-flight.


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