Tokyo: A helicopter of the ground forces of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces disappeared from radar not far from the island of Miyako in the southern Okinawa prefecture, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Thursday, citing sources in the defense ministry.
There were ten people on board of the UH-60 multipurpose chopper, including two pilots, two mechanics and six crew, when the aerial vehicle disappeared at around 4:40 pm local time (07:40 GMT), the news agency reported, citing the Japan Coast Guard and other sources.
The reports also said that the helicopter departed from Miyako island at 3:45 pm local time.
The Japanese coast guard has sent four patrol ships to nearby waters to search for the aircraft, describing the weather conditions as moderate when they arrived at 6:10 pm local time, according to the reports.
The news agency added that the helicopter was based at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Takayubaru camp in the country’s southwestern prefecture of Kumamoto, and was carrying out surveillance activities.
The patrol detected ships an oil slick and floating objects, which presumably were the wreckage of the aircraft, according to the media outlet.