Published: 12:32, June 11, 2024 | Updated: 12:32, June 11, 2024
Japan declares 7 missing crew dead after April MSDF helicopter collision
By Xinhua
An SH-60K anti-submarine helicopter sits on the flight deck of Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183) off the coast of Brunei on June 26, 2019. (PHOTO / AP)

TOKYO - Japan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday declared dead seven crewmen listed as missing since the fatal collision of two Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol helicopters in April.

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"I feel sorry as we searched hard for them. I'm also heartbroken for their families," Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said at a press conference, adding that the MSDF will continue to search for the bodies of the crewmen and the helicopter wreckage.

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The death toll from the collision rose to eight, with only one body recovered so far.

The two SH-60K helicopters, each carrying four MSDF members, collided and crashed during a night drill on April 20 over the sea near Izu Islands, about 600 km south of Tokyo.

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This type of helicopter has had a number of accidents during nighttime training flights, including a fatal crash in 2017 and a collision off the southern island of Amami Oshima in 2021 when no injuries were reported, local media reported.