TOKYO — U.S. military personnel appeared to remove part of the main rotor from a Marine Corps helicopter Sunday, one day after it made an emergency landing on a beach in Japan’s southern Okinawa islands.
Japanese television showed personnel in dark green uniforms using four metal stepladders to reach the rotor of the helicopter, which remained parked on the sand, near the Pacific Ocean. They handed down a large part and hand-carried it off the beach.
The Marines confirmed in a statement that the UH-1Y helicopter landed on Ikeijima, a small island off Okinawa’s main island, after indications that the main rotor was moving at too high a speed. No one was injured in the Saturday afternoon incident. The Marines said the cause was under investigation.
The U.S. maintains a major military presence in Okinawa. The local government and residents often complain about the American bases, and incidents like this one increase the friction.
In two separate incidents last month, parts fell from U.S. military helicopters onto schools in Okinawa. One boy had minor injuries after an emergency escape window fell from a CH-53 transport helicopter into a school playground. The school in Ginowan city is right next to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.