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Marine Corps helicopter makes precautionary landing on Okinawa

A Marine walks near an AH-1Z Viper at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Dec. 2, 2016. One of the attack helicopters made a precautionary landing on Ikei Island, Okinawa, late last week after pilots received a warning indication in the cockpit.

STEVEN TRAN/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By MATTHEW M. BURKE AND CHIYOMI SUMIDA | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 22, 2017

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine Corps AH-1Z attack helicopter made a precautionary landing on Ikei Island, Okinawa, late last week after pilots received a warning indication in the cockpit.

The helicopter from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 landed on an “isolated” single-lane farm road at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, Marine officials said in a statement.

The pilots acted in accordance with standard operating procedures that dictated they land as soon as possible, the statement said.

No one was in the area when the helicopter landed, an Okinawa Defense Bureau spokesman said, and there were no injuries or damages.

The landing site was about 500 yards away from a resort hotel.

Military aircraft emergencies and mishaps are met with opposition on Okinawa. Protests erupted last month after an MV-22 Osprey crashed offshore near Camp Schwab.

Following Friday’s incident, Koichiro Nakajima, director of the Okinawa defense bureau, met with Kiichiro Jahana, executive director of the Okinawa Governor’s Office, and Toshio Shimabukuro, mayor of Uruma, where Ikei Island is located, to apologize for the incident.

Nakajima insisted oil that had spilled from the aircraft during maintenance had been cleaned up.

“What on Earth is going on with aircraft maintenance of the military?” Shimabukuro asked. “There is a long way to go to ease the anxiety of residents [over the safety of military aircraft].”

burke.matt@stripes.com

sumida.chiyomi@stripes.com

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