Disaster in the American military as helicopter crashes after touching ground in an empty field in Okinawa on Wednesday.
The US military spoke to the Japanese authorities acknowledging that its CH-53 transport helicopter “landed” prior to the explosion in the early evening while it was outside a training ground on the island, Itsunori Onodera said.
A video of firefighters battling orange flames after dark and clouds of smoke appeared in the sky was displayed by the National broadcaster NHK.
Onodera told journalists that: “When the US Marine Corp CH-53 helicopter landed, a fire started. We have received information that all crew members were safe.”
In order to avoid future occurrences, the Japanese government had informed the US military to make public a detailed report on the incident.
“Accidents by the US Marine Corps are continuing. We want to communicate to the US side that we demand safe operations,” Onodera added.
NHK report confirmed an eyewitnesses’ statement that the accident occurred immediately after 5:30 pm (0830 GMT).
However, no immediate official statement has come from the US Marines stationed in Okinawa.
History had it that five crewmembers onboard a US Marine MV-22 Osprey were injured following a disaster Pentagon called a “mishap” caused by the plane landing in a shallow water off Okinawa coast in December.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the incident at the time as “very regrettable” adding that a “serious accident” had happened and emphasized that the plane’s safety history was a major “prerequisite” to the aircraft’s deployment in Japan.
However, protests arose in Okinawa by the resident after the deployment of Ospreys in Japan, in the event of series of accidents in other countries involving the hybrid aircraft.
Again in August, US Marines could not help it but went on a major search to rescue an MV-22 Osprey which went down off the east coast of Australia.
The rescue mission was successful with the retrieval of 23 out of the 26 personnel and later called off from further search for the remaining three crew members.
The Island is being occupied by nearly 47,000 American troops stationed there under a decades-long security alliance for 27 years after a World War II battle came to an end.