U.S. helicopter crash-lands, burns down on field in Takae

A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53R helicopter caught fire and crash-landed on a private field and burned in a community of Takae, Higashi Village, Wednesday.

According to U.S. Marine Corps Public Affairs Office, a fire broke out inside of the large transport helicopter assigned to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing on MCAS Futenma, while on a training mission. forcing it to make an emergency landing. The aircraft burned down almost completely. Seven people onboard escaped without injury.

Seven fire engines from Kunigami Fire Station and the Higashi Detachment aided with helicopters and fire engines of U.S. military rushed to the site and doused the fire by a little after 8 p.m.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, Hokubu Ward Chief and local residents joined to protest the accident.

According to a local witness, seven people escaped from the aircraft carrying luggage with them, transferred into another helicopter and left the site that is private grassland close to the Prefectural Road No.70, and about 300 meters from the nearest local residence.

The U.S. military restricted the immediate area of the accident with Okinawa Police joining in to cordon off an area with a radius of 300 meters.

According to some reports, there was a possibility that strontium 90 was used in a safety device in the rotor. Personnel from the Okinawa Prefecture Environmental Section tried to enter the restricted area to measure a possible radiation, but they were prevented from entering the site.