The Kanagawa Prefectural Police says they have sent a request of information to the United States military regarding the Monday afternoon crash of a U.S. Navy helicopter at a landfill in Miura. Two of the four crew members suffered injuries when the Navy Knighthawk attempted an emergency landing but instead crashed on its side and its rotor blade torn off from the impact.
But when the police requested for more details from the U.S. military, they were told they will not receive a response from the authorities. According to the local fire department, the crew members told them that they crashed because they lost control of the aircraft, probably due to equipment failure. Furthermore, during the day of the incident, the Kanagawa police force only received answers to their inquiries minutes more than 10 minutes after the Atsugi U.S. naval base received the first information from the helicopter at 3:31 P.M. They also found out that there were no dangerous materials on board only by 4:10 P.M. and then the aircraft model at almost 8 P.M. The joint investigation only began when U.S. military arrived at 6:38 P.M., which was too slow for the local officials’ liking.
Under the bilateral agreement between the two countries regarding off-base accidents involving U.S military equipment and personnel, the U.S. manages the aircraft and aircraft parts in case of a crash or crash landing. The guidelines, established in 2004 after a U.S. helicopter crashed at the Okinawa International University, says that Japanese and U.S. authorities should mutually report and investigate accidents and that the U.S. should give information on the aircraft models and any dangerous cargo or materials on board. This latest incident shows that there’s still some difficulty in dealing with incidents involving U.S. military equipment.
[ via Mainichi ]