NAHA, Okinawa — Japan has paid some $2.3 million so far to cover damages caused by the August 2004 crash of a U.S. Marine helicopter on the campus of Okinawa International University.

Sunday marks the second anniversary of the crash.

A spokesman for the Naha Bureau of the Defense Facilities Administration Agency said Tuesday that most of the money, about $2.1 million, was paid to the school to cover damage to the administration building and other campus structures. The agency also paid a total of about $131,000 to people who live in the area.

On Aug. 13, 2004, a Marine CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter spun out of control and crashed on the campus, which is next to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The helicopter burst into flames and the rotor blades cut into a wall of the administration building, which also was damaged by the fire.

Helicopter parts were found scattered through the nearby residential neighborhood, but no civilian casualties were reported. Helicopter debris was found up to 370 yards from the crash site.

“Of the compensation made to residents, some 55 cases included damages to homes and vehicles,” the DFAA spokesman said. “Also, some compensation was made for mental duress.

“Although we are yet to pay for landscaping after the administration building construction is completed, most of the compensation has been made,” he said.

The helicopter’s three crewmen were rescued before the aircraft burst into flames and were treated for various injuries. The school was on summer break and few people were on campus.

Investigators said failure to insert a cotter pin during preflight maintenance caused the accident.

In 2005, the school decided to replace the damaged administration building with a larger structure at a cost of $5 million to $7 million.

A blackened tree stump now stands at the cleared crash site. School officials have preserved sections of the crash-damaged wall, still blackened by the fire and scarred by notches made by the helicopter blades. They plan to use the wall as a monument to mark the event and highlight the danger they say is inherent in having an active military air base in the middle of an urban center.

The accident underscored the need to relocate MCAS Futenma to a less populated area, U.S. and Japanese officials have said. In May the two nations signed an agreement to move Marine air operations to a new airfield to be built on the lower part of Camp Schwab at Cape Henoko. That project remains in the early planning stages and the new airfield is not expected to be ready before 2014.

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