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2 Japanese Navy helicopters with 8 crew members aboard crashed into Pacific Ocean

2 Japanese Navy helicopters with 8 crew members aboard crashed into Pacific Ocean Illustrative photo (photo: Getty Images)

Two Japanese navy helicopters with eight crew members crashed in the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo during night training. Rescuers are searching for seven missing crew members, one was pulled from the water, according to AP.

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara informed journalists that two SH-60K helicopters belonging to the Maritime Self-Defense Forces and carrying four crew members each lost contact on Saturday evening near Torishima Island in the Pacific Ocean about 600 kilometers south of Tokyo.

One of the eight crew members was pulled from the water, but there is currently no information about their condition.

The cause of the crash is unknown, the minister said, adding that authorities are prioritizing the rescue operation.

According to Kihara, rescuers found fragments, presumably from one of the SH-60K helicopters.

"We believe the helicopters have crashed," he said.

The head of the Japanese Ministry of Defense said that the twin-engine multi-role helicopters, developed by Igor Sikorsky and known as Seahawk, were conducting night anti-submarine warfare training. One lost contact at 10:38 p.m. (13:38 GMT) after sending an emergency signal. The other lost contact approximately 25 minutes later.

On April 8, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that events on the international stage are pushing the world and his country towards decisive and unexpected actions. In particular, Japan has decided to change its defense posture.

A few days earlier, the Japanese government imposed a ban on the export to Russia of several goods that contribute to strengthening its industrial base, citing the situation in Ukraine.