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A cockpit warning light prompted a Navy pilot to land a helicopter in an open area by a Kanagawa Prefecture beach parking lot late Saturday morning.

A helicopter, assigned to Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 51, landed safely near the town of Enoshima around 11:50 a.m. Saturday, according to a 7th Fleet news release. The helicopter was conducting a routine flight when the warning light went off, said Naval Air Facility Atsugi spokesman Brian Naranjo.

The helicopter landed smoothly without incident, Naranjo said. The pilot and three crew members were uninjured and there were no reports of damage or injuries on the ground, he added.

Preliminary information from the 7th Fleet identified the helicopter as a Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk. Later Saturday afternoon, Naranjo said he believed it was a UH-3H Sea King.

A maintenance crew was dispatched from Atsugi to check the helicopter. Naranjo said it would be flown back to the base if all systems check out.

“Safety is paramount,” he said.

“The cause of the activated warning light is under investigation,” the 7th Fleet news release stated.

“The U.S. Navy, HSL-51 and the crew onboard sincerely appreciate the cooperation and support of the local authorities in this matter.”

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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