Rotor issue caused U.S. helicopter emergency landing in Japan
U.S. military personnel appeared to remove part of the main rotor from a Marine Corps helicopter Jan. 7, one day after it made an emergency landing on a beach in Japan’s southern Okinawa islands.
Japanese television showed personnel in dark green uniforms using four metal stepladders to reach the rotor of the helicopter, which remained parked on the sand, near the Pacific Ocean. They handed down a large part and hand-carried it off the beach.
The Marines confirmed in a statement that the UH-1Y helicopter landed on Ikeijima, a small island off Okinawa’s main island, after indications that the main rotor was moving at too high a speed. No one was injured in the Saturday afternoon incident. The Marines said the cause was under investigation.
The U.S. maintains a major military presence in Okinawa. The local government and residents often complain about the American bases, and incidents like this one increase the friction.
In two separate incidents last month, parts fell from U.S. military helicopters onto schools in Okinawa. One boy had minor injuries after an emergency escape window fell from a CH-53 transport helicopter into a school playground. The school in Ginowan city is right next to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. AP
U.S. Navy locates crashed plane deep on Pacific seabed
The U.S. Navy has located a transport aircraft deep on the Pacific Ocean floor where it crashed in November, killing three sailors on board.
The C-2A Greyhound aircraft, which was traveling to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan when it crashed the day before Thanksgiving in the Philippine Sea, rests at a depth of about 18,500 feet, the Japan-based 7th Fleet said in a statement Jan. 6.
Salvaging it will be the deepest recovery attempt of an aircraft to date, the Navy said.
The plane was located last week by a contracted salvage vessel that deployed a pinger locator that picked up the aircraft’s emergency signal. After marking the location, the search team returned to port in Japan.
In the coming weeks, the team will return to the site with a side-scan sonar and remote operated vehicle to map the debris field and attach heavy lines for lifting the aircraft to the surface, the statement said.
“Despite very challenging conditions, every effort will be made to recover the aircraft and our fallen sailors,” the Navy said, adding that the mission was initially delayed by the poor weather.
Eight people were rescued and the dead were identified as Lt. Steven Combs Jr. and Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso of Florida and Airman Matthew Chialastri of Louisiana.
Elizabeth Combs has said that her brother was piloting the aircraft and managed to settle it in the sea, allowing for the rescue of the eight people. The Navy called Combs’ actions “heroic.”
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The 7th Fleet had two fatal naval accidents in Asian waters last year, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the removal of eight top Navy officers from their posts, including the fleet commander. AP