A ceremony was held Sunday to mark the first anniversary of a rescue helicopter crash that killed all nine persons on board in a mountainous area on the borders of Gunma and Nagano prefectures on Aug 11, 2018.
About 350 rescue personnel and bereaved family members gathered at a ceremony in Nakanojo, Gunma Prefecture.
The Bell 412EP helicopter was flying at a low altitude and hit trees, an investigative panel found. There was no flight recorder on the aircraft, according to the Gunma government, as such devices are not mandatory for rescue helicopters. GPS data sent from the helicopter indicated it was making a turn a minute before the transmission stopped
The helicopter belonged to the prefectural government and was operated by the Tokyo-based aviation company Toho Air Service. It had been checking a mountain trail ahead of its opening to climbers when it crashed. Two of the crew had been confirmed dead Friday.
The helicopter went into service in May 1997 and had clocked over 7,000 flight hours. It was due to be retired in 2020.© Japan Today/Kyodo