No Sign of Aircraft in Vast Ocean as Search Efforts Continues for 7 Missing After Possible MSDF Helicopter Collision

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel is seen in the area east of Torishima Island, Izu island chain, during a search on Sunday morning after two MSDF helicopters disappeared Saturday night.

The morning after two Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol helicopters lost communication near the waters off Torishima Island, a Yomiuri Shimbun aircraft flew over the site of the incident on Sunday.

The two SH-60K aircraft, each carrying four people, are believed to have collided Saturday during a submarine detection drill about 280 kilometers east of Torishima Island, part of the Izu island chain. The MSDF rescued one person, who was later pronounced dead. Seven people remain missing.

The Yomiuri aircraft approached the site at about 8:20 a.m. Sunday. No islands were seen in the vicinity, and instead a vast expanse of ocean was stretching out. The sea was calm, with no whitecaps in sight.

Five Self-Defense Forces vessels were involved in the search, including the destroyer Suzunami, which had a helicopter standing by at the aft end. Crew members were seen leaning over the railing on the port deck, peering out to sea and looking around with binoculars.

While flying overhead, we could not locate the missing persons or lost aircraft. We left the scene with the hope that they would be found as soon as possible.