SDF UH-1 helicopter. Creative Commons photo, Flckr user a.koto.

A GSDF UH-1 helicopter from the Middle Army Aviation Group crashed near Osaka Sunday morning, injuring all four crewmen onboard. No one on the ground was injured.

According to the Yao garrison, the helicopter started its engines at Yao Airport at around 8:30 a.m., lifted off at 8:43 a.m., proceeded about 200 meters west to an area used for taking off and landing, and began hovering as part of a test. While hovering, the helicopter suddenly fell to the grass below, landing on its right side and demolishing on impact.

A part of the helicopter — 3.2 -kilograms in weight and around 40 centimeters in length — used to secure the rotor was found in Nishiyuge Park, about 500 meters southeast of the crash site, after it was reported by a civilian. The part is thought to have been sent flying by the impact of the crash. The GSDF believes other parts may have fallen as well, and intends to search the area on Oct. 4. (Link)

It’s fortunate that no one on the ground was hurt. Military bases in Japan are often surrounded by civilian property (Futenma being only one example) and this base was quite close to civilians:

The garrison grounds are near a residential area, and the distance between the crash site and the nearest civilian house is about 200 meters. The park where the helicopter part fell includes a playground, and there are houses and factories nearby, but the part, or any other fallen debris, does not appear to have caused any injuries.

Yeah, a bit too close to call.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch