US military helicopter crashes on base in Japan

TOKYO – A U.S. crashed at an American base on the southern island of Okinawa, Japanese and U.S. officials said Monday.

A HH-60 crashed in a training area at with four on board, the U.S. Air Force said in a statement. The status of the is unknown, it said.

The helicopter, which belongs to Okinawa’s , was on an unspecified training mission, the statement said. It said the cause of the crash was not known.

Television footage showed smoke rising from a spot in the forest, although it was unclear whether the aircraft was on fire.

Itsunori told reporters that he was told that three of the four crew members on board survived, with a fourth person missing. He said no other details, including the condition of the crew members, were immediately known.

Okinawa said there were no reports of injuries or damage outside the base.

The crash comes amid Okinawan opposition to the Marine Corps’ additional deployment of 12 MV-22 aircraft. About half of the 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan are based on Okinawa under a Japan-U.S. .

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