Authorities find body part after chopper crash in Japan
TOKYO- Agence France-Presse
Japanese authorities yesterday said that they had recovered a body part during the search for a crew member missing in a deadly military helicopter crash in the country’s southwest.
The Apache helicopter crashed on Feb. 5 in a residential area in Saga province, killing co-pilot Hiroki Takayama and leaving lead pilot Kenichi Saito missing.
“We were informed that a body part was found. But we’re still confirming the identity of the body part,” a defense ministry spokesman told AFP.
The helicopter crashed in Saga prefecture seven minutes after takeoff, slamming into and setting on fire a house that was completely destroyed in the accident.
An 11-year-old girl was in the house at the time, but survived with minor injuries.
Video footage captured by a camera in a nearby car showed the helicopter dropping from the sky almost vertically, with its nose pointing directly towards the ground.
The crash site was just 300 meters (1,000 feet) from a local elementary school and sent a thick plume of grey smoke rising from in between the rooftops of local houses.
The AH-64 Apache attack helicopter was conducting a test flight after routine maintenance at the time of the accident, and had taken off from a Self-Defence Forces (SDF) base, according to the defense ministry.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered said his government would investigate the incident.