A U.S. military helicopter crashed into sea off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa Wednesday, injuring seven crew members, according to Japanese authorities. All 17 people on board the chopper were rescued.
The UH-60 Black Hawk chopper crashed about 30 km (18.6 miles) east of Kadena Air Base on the island, Japan’s coast guard said, citing U.S military forces in Japan, according to Kyodo News. Camp Foster, a U.S. Marine Corps facility in Okinawa, had issued a rescue request for the crashed helicopter, CNN reported.
The chopper performed a "hard-deck landing" on a U.S. military ship following which it crashed, NBC News reported, citing the U.S. Pacific Command. The tail of the helicopter broke off in the crash.
The Japanese government is pressing Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga to relocate the U.S. Marines air base to a less busy part of the island, Reuters reported. Residents of Okinawa have maintained their disapproval of U.S. troops and U.S. military installations on 18 percent of the island. Most residents blame the U.S. bases for accidents, crime and pollution.
In March, another Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Santa Rosa Sound along Florida's Panhandle, killing all 11 people on board. The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, based in Fort Rucker, Alabama, launched an investigation into the crash.