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Monday, August 13, 2012

Okinawa No Fly Zone: The Story of the August 13, 2004 U.S. Marine CH-53D Helicopter Crash into the Okinawa Int. University Administration Building


This photo was shot just a few minutes after the crash from the front of Pablo's lunch counter

Via the Okinawa No Fly Zone:
The Story of the August 13, 2004 U.S. Marine CH-53D Helicopter Crash into the Okinawa International University Administration Building

On August 13, 2004. U.S. Marines invaded and occupied a large section of the Okinawa International University campus after a CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy assault transport helicopter crashed into the OIU Administration Building...

What started out as a fairly routine summer day on the Okinawa International University (OIU) campus turned into the worst U.S. military helicopter crash in Japan in recent years.

Being summer vacation, only about 500 people were on the OIU campus. Ordinarily there would have been 5,000. Some summer session classes had just let out for the day, and students were milling about. Unbeknownst to the students, though, a U.S. Marine CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy assault transport helicopter was out of control and headed their way.

The helicopter which had taken off from Futenma air base was reportedly on a routine training mission directly over a densely populated urban residential area (!), and was headed back to the base on a path which took it over the university.

Eyewitnesses including both local residents and U.S. Marines reported seeing a large section of the tail rotor assembly fall off in midair over a nearby residential neighborhood. OIU Office Chief Yasutake Kuroshima, who happened to be outside the building, took off running at the sight of the huge helicopter spiraling out of control over his head. Plummeting rapidly toward earth, the fuselage of the helicopter hit the edge of the university administration building. The rotor blades hacked large chunks of concrete from the roof of the three-story building...

The helicopter crashed just over 100 meters from a gas station, and about 150 meters from a day-care center and an elementary school...
Read the rest at the Okinawa No Fly Zone website created by OIU faculty and supporters.

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