The US military has decided to ground it transport helicopters operating in Japan, after one of them was involved in a fiery crash near a village in Okinawa on Wednesday.

The CH-53E helicopter caught fire in midair during a training flight over the US military’s Northern Training Area on the main island of Okinawa and burst into flames as it made an emergency landing 300 meters away from residential houses.

Apparently, the aircraft went down after a fire broke out in the engine, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. All of the chopper’s seven crews survived the crash.

Local officials told the media that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had ordered the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces to conduct their own investigations and don’t rely solely on US investigations.

The Okinawa government said they tried to access the site to search for traces of a possible safety device on board the chopper that contained a low-level radioactive isotope, but US military forces did not allow them to search the area.

The Northern Training Area, straddling the villages of Higashi and Kunigami, is equipped helipads that are used by the US military’s Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, notorious for their reliability issues.

PressTV / AA Magnum Analyst Blog News Site 2017.

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