It wasn't what the
locals were expecting... A CH-53D helicopter from Marine Heavy
Helicopter Squadron 463 made a precautionary landing in Togochi
Town, Hiroshima Prefecture (Japan) April 15 at 2 p.m. The
helicopter safely made the landing in the Ota Riverbed due to a
malfunction with the CH-53D's first stage hydraulic system.
The helicopter departed from here at 12:55 p.m. and was
returning from a routine training exercise. At approximately 2
p.m., the helicopter pilots noticed the problem and immediately
looked for a safe site to land.
"We had time, within reason, to look for a place to land," said
1st Lt. Michael Smith, HMH-463 pilot. There was no immediate danger
to the two pilots and two-man crew of the helicopter.
"Togochi is surrounded by mountains, which made it difficult to
find a place to land. We made sure we landed in a safe area away
from children or anybody," said Capt. Gregory T. Baker, HMH-463
The Ota River, where the helicopter made the precautionary
landing, is property of the Japanese government. Once it landed,
Japanese officials arrived on the scene within minutes.
"Nobody was injured and no damage was done to either private or
government property because of the landing here," said Taketoshi
Hayashi, Hiroshima Prefectural's senior policeman.
At approximately 3:10
p.m., a maintenance recovery aircraft and crew departed from the
Station with parts to repair the helicopter. In a matter of 30
minutes, the recovery crew fixed the malfunction. According Cpl.
Seth Budimlija, HMH-463 airframes technician, "This type of
malfunction is very rare." The last time Budimlija remembers a
hydraulic malfunction like this was more than two years ago.
Japanese media and locals looked on with amazement behind the
embankment of the river at the sight of the CH-53D helicopters.
"The rural town is not accustomed to seeing such things," said
The CH-53D, along with the recovery aircraft, returned here at
4:45 p.m. No injuries to either the crew of the helicopter or
Togochi locals occurred.
The helicopter is designed to transport personnel, equipment and
supplies. It has been part of the Marine Corps inventory since
1964. [ANN Thanks Lance Cpl. Ruben D. Calderon]