Gunma copter crash kills all nine crew members and passengers
Japan Times -- Aug 11
All nine passengers on a rescue helicopter that crashed on a mountain near the border of Gunma and Nagano prefectures on Friday died, Gunma Prefectural Government officials confirmed on Saturday.

The helicopter, which was checking a mountain trail ahead of its opening to climbers, went down near the prefectural border Friday morning.

The prefectural government identified the pilot as Noriyuki Amagai, 57. Also aboard was mechanic Susumu Sawaguchi, 60. Both were employees of Toho Air Service, which maintains the aircraft. They were part of a prefectural disaster management unit together with two others — Satoshi Ozawa, 44, and Akihiro Oka, 38. The other five were firefighters Ken Tamura, 47, Yosuke Mizuide, 42, Hidetoshi Shiobara, 42, Hiroshi Kuroiwa, 42, and Masaya Hachisuka, 43.

Around 160 rescuers, police officers and Self-Defense Force personnel entered the area by foot Saturday morning.

While the cause of the crash is not yet known, eyewitnesses said the helicopter, which belongs to the Gunma Prefectural Government and was operated by a Tokyo-based aviation company, was flying very low. One eyewitness said the engine was making an unusual sound.

群馬県の防災ヘリが墜落した事故は、乗っていた9人全員の死亡が確認され、原因の調査が本格的に始まりました。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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