Two Japanese military helicopters crash; one dead, 7 missing

In Japan, a soldier died and seven are missing after two Japanese military helicopters crashed in the south of Tokyo. Officials believe that the two choppers collided with each other before plunging into the Pacific Ocean.

Defence minister of Japan, Minoru Kihara said that the two Mitsubishi H-60 helicopters from the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) were conducting nighttime anti-submarine training in the waters off Torishima island when they lost communication with the surface.

Noteworthy, the Mitsubishi H-60 series is a twin-turboshaft engine helicopter based on the Sikorsky S-70 helicopter family for use by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF).

A search and rescue operation has been launched to find the seven missing personnel with the MSDF and Air Self-Defense Force along with Japan Coast Guard patrol boats. Mr Kihara also said that they are investigating the exact cause of the crash.

The Ministry will also suspend training flights for all SH-60s for now, he added.