Two Japanese SH-60Ks Go Down off Izu Islands

A search is underway near the Izu Islands, east of Torishima, for two Japanese SH-60Ks that went down during nighttime training. The helicopters were carrying four crew members each and were conducting Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training when they lost contact around 10:38 p.m. local time.

While the official cause of the crash is unknown, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara stated that it is “highly likely” the helicopters collided before hitting the water.

Search and rescue efforts involve at least 12 warships and multiple aircraft. Rescuers have already found one crewmember who was pronounced dead. They’ve also recovered the flight data recorder, a blade from each helicopter, and fragments from both helicopters.

One crew was based out of an airbase in Nagasaki, and the other in Tokushima prefecture.

The SH-60K is based on the American SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk. (Official JMSDF photo)

Japan has experienced a swath of military helicopter crashes in recent months, leading to calls from legislators to overhaul their procedures. Recently, Japan grounded it’s entire fleet of V-22 Ospreys for months following several deadly crashes by US and JSDF forces in the region.

JMSDF Chief of Staff Admiral Ryo Sakai stated that all SH-60s will be grounded pending an investigation into the crash.