Second Marine helicopter makes emergency landing
A USMC helicopter made an emergency landing on a waste disposal site in Yomitan Monday afternoon.
The AH-1 attack chopper was not damaged nor was its two-men crew injured in the landing that was the second emergency landing of a U.S. military helicopter within three days. A Marines’ UH-1 helicopter made an emergency on a beach on Ikei Island on Saturday.
The AH-1 chopper was able to leave the landing site on its own power Tuesday morning after repairs and a check-up heading back to MCAS Futenma, while the helicopter in the earlier emergency landing was airlifted by another shopper to White Beach.
The accidents are prompting Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera to make plans to take up the matter of recent U.S. helicopter related incidents with Admiral Harry Harris, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, when he meets him in Hawaii. Onodera said that he hopes to depart to Hawaii as soon as possibly today.
According to NHK, Onodera said that he plans to urge the commander to take all necessary steps to prevent such accidents from happening. He also said that his ministry has asked the U.S. military to provide all pertinent information about the incidents and conduct thorough inspections of all U.S. military aircraft operating in Japan.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Military on Okinawa says that the Monday emergency landing was likely caused by a problem with the chopper’s tail rotor.
Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson made a phone call Monday to Okinawa Vice Governor Moritake Tomikawa to apologize for the incident.
Okinawa Governor Takashi Onaga vid Tuesday that the incident left him speechless. “I want them (the U.S. military) to feel ashamed of their inability to be in control of what they are doing,” Onaga said, according to Jiji Press.