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Another one... U.S. military chopper makes emergency landing in Okinawa

Staff Writer |
A U.S. military attack helicopter made an emergency landing in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture on Monday, local media reported, with the incident coming on the heels of an almost identical mishap just two days earlier.

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The AH-1 attack helicopter belonging to the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma made the emergency landing at a waste disposal site in the village of Yomitan in Japan's southernmost prefecture.

According to local police and the U.S. military, none of the four crew members aboard were injured in the emergency landing, which was in the vicinity of a large resort hotel, and there have been no reports of injury to persons or damage to property as a result of the latest U.S. military helicopter mishap.

The latest incident involving a U.S. military chopper follows a UH-1 heavy-lift transport helicopter on Saturday making an emergency landing on a sandy beach on Ikei Island, also in Okinawa.

The U.S. Marine Corps said the emergency landing on the small islet was due to "indications of the main rotor moving at too high a speed."

The UH-1 transport helicopter touched down just 100 meters away from a residential house, renewing concerns and anger among locals in Okinawa about the safety of U.S. military hardware owing to the increasing frequency of potentially fatal mishaps and accidents recently.

Both helicopters are based at the controversial U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is central to a protracted row between the local and central governments about its relocation from the densely populated Ginowan district, to the coastal Henoko region also on the island.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK said that according to defense ministry officials, the U.S. side explained to local police investigating the accident Monday that the emergency landing was a result of an instrument in the cockpit indicating a fault with the aircraft.

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