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Japan declares 7 missing crew dead after April MSDF helicopter collision


Tokyo, June 11: Japan's Defence Ministry on Tuesday declared dead seven crew men listed as missing since the fatal collision of two Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (MSDF) patrol helicopters in April.

"I feel sorry as we searched hard for them. I'm also heartbroken for their families," Defence Minister Minoru Kihara said at a press conference, adding that the MSDF will continue to search for the bodies of the crewmen and the helicopter wreckage. The death toll from the collision rose to eight, with only one body recovered so far, reports Xinhua news agency.

The two SH-60K helicopters, each carrying four MSDF members, collided and crashed during a night drill on April 20 over the sea near Izu Islands, about 600 kilometres south of Tokyo.

This type of helicopter has had several accidents during night time training flights, including a fatal crash in 2017 and a collision off the southern island of Amami Oshima in 2021 when no injuries were reported, local media reported.

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