Salvors pull wreckage of Japanese army Black Hawk from East China Sea
Stars and Stripes May 3, 2023
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Salvage crews have recovered a section of a Japanese military helicopter that crashed into the East China Sea last month with 10 aboard, including a lieutenant general.
Two ships from the Tokyo-based Offshore Engineering Co. used a net at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday to raise a portion of the 8th Air Wing UH-60JA Black Hawk from the seafloor, a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force statement said that day.
The heavily damaged piece of fuselage was placed on the deck of a ship and a remotely operated vehicle was deployed to check for unrecovered aircraft parts, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.
The helicopter's flight data recorder was recovered and is being analyzed by the Ground Self-Defense Force, the statement said.
The Black Hawk was on a reconnaissance flight 11 miles northwest of Miyako Airport when it went down April 6 with Lt. Gen. Yuichi Sakamoto, commander of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s 8th Division, four members of the division’s headquarters staff, four members of the wing and Camp Miyako commander Col. Masahito Iyota aboard.
Sakamoto, 55, was appointed division commander less than a week before the crash. His body was identified on April 21, the same day Japan’s coast guard suspended around-the-clock search efforts.
The aircraft section was found April 13 in 350 feet of water just offshore of Irabu Island, southwest of Okinawa.
Six crew members have been recovered from the wreckage and five identified since April 16. Four people aboard the Black Hawk are unaccounted for.