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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 July 18 - 24  > Citizens concerned about possible crash of Osprey in Ikata NPP
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2012 July 18 - 24 TOP3 [US FORCES]

Citizens concerned about possible crash of Osprey in Ikata NPP

July 22, 2012
A nightmare scenario in which a tilt-rotor aircraft Osprey crashes into a nuclear power plant may actually come about. In fact, a crash of a U.S. military airplane that killed all crew members happened near the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture 24 years ago.

On June 25, 1988, a CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy assault transport helicopter based at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station crashed into the northern slope of a mountain, just 800 meters from the NPP, bounced onto the southern slope, and smashed into pieces. All 7 Marines aboard were killed.

“If the aircraft had crashed inside the Ikata plant, it could have turned into a catastrophic disaster,” recalled former Japanese Communist Party prefectural assemblyman Nakagawa Etsuro. At that time, when he rushed over to the crash site, he was prevented by the U.S. Marine Corps from stepping closer to the scene.

This incident is not just a past event that can be ignored.

On the flight path over the Sadomisaki Peninsula where the Ikata NPP is located, U.S. military aircraft fly from the Futenma base (Okinawa) to the Iwakuni base (Yamaguchi which faces Ehime across the Seto Inland Sea). Even after the 1988 crash, U.S. military aircraft on the route were involved in many accidents.

After the Osprey deployment to the Futenma base, the U.S. military plans to station 2 or 3 Ospreys at the Iwakuni base to conduct flight training from October. If this plan is implemented, the Ospreys will surely fly over the area around the Ikata plant. Local residents are expressing deep concerns and some are shivering with fear of a crash into the plant.

The U.S. forces’ survey results show that between October 2006 and September 2011, the number of accidents that MV22 and CV22 Ospreys had totals 58. Of them, 30 accidents were caused by the MV22 Osprey aircraft which is to be deployed to the U.S. Futenma base in Okinawa if the plan is carried out.
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