U.S. forces place blame for military helicopter crash on maintenance personnel

The U.S. Forces in Japan have concluded that "poor maintenance" was the cause of the August 13 U.S. military helicopter crash in Okinawa.

They turned over the report on the cause of the accident to a Japan-U.S. Joint Committee meeting in Tokyo on October 5, stating that the CH53D helicopter crashed due to a failure of maintenance personnel to comply with standard procedures in installing an important component correctly. It stressed that the problem was found only in the CH53D helicopter that crashed.

The report stated that U.S. forces will conduct safety and maintenance inspections on all CH53D helicopters stationed in Japan in order to prevent similar accidents.

In a published statement on the same day, Iha Yoichi, mayor of Ginowan City hosting the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station where the crashed helicopter took off from, said, "The report does not provide a convincing enough explanation to Ginowan residents who continue to have the fear that such accidents can occur anytime, or to the majority of Okinawans."

He added, "I strongly oppose using this report as a justification to resume CH53D flights."

Okinawa Governor Inamine Keiichi also expressed his dissatisfaction with the report, saying, "The cause of the accident needs to be investigated more thoroughly." (end)

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