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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 11 - 17  > Professor: US military helicopter accident in Takae causes radiation contamination
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2017 October 11 - 17 [US FORCES]

Professor: US military helicopter accident in Takae causes radiation contamination

October 15, 2017
A Ryukyu University professor emeritus on October 14 told the press that a recent accident of a U.S. military helicopter in Okinawa possibly caused radioactive contamination in the nearby natural environment and posed health hazards for local residents.

Yagasaki Katsuma, a radiation expert, at a press conference held at the prefectural government office said that three days after the helicopter crashed and caught fire on a pasture in Higashi Village’s Takae district, he collected soil samples from three locations 300 meters away from the accident site. He explained that nuclides emitting radiation at unnaturally-high levels were detected from the samples.

Taking the obtained information into account, Yagasaki suspected that the body of the crippled helicopter contained strontium 90 and that this radioactive substance escaped from the body and was scattered by the wind.

The helicopter in question is a CH-53E helicopter stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Futanma base in Okinawa. This type of aircraft uses parts containing strontium 90, according to U.S. military documents.

Yagasaki said that the possible leak of strontium 90 poses a health hazard for people living in communities downwind from the accident site. He underscored the need to make sure that these residents will be able to receive compensation if by any chance they develop cancer due to the leaked radioactive material.
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