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Flight data recorders from crashed Japanese navy helicopters show no sign of mechanical failure

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Flight data recorders from crashed Japanese navy helicopters show no sign of mechanical failure
News

News

Flight data recorders from crashed Japanese navy helicopters show no sign of mechanical failure

2024-04-22 12:57 Last Updated At:13:11

TOKYO (AP) — An initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the crash of two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign of mechanical problems, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, indicating likely human error. One of the eight crew members died and a search is continuing for the seven others.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said an initial analysis of data from the two flight data recorders on each helicopter showed no abnormality during their flight and that mechanical failure was most likely not the cause of the crash.

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Japanese navy chief of staff Ryo Sakai speaks during a press conference at Defense Ministry in Tokyo Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — An initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the crash of two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign of mechanical problems, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, indicating likely human error. One of the eight crew members died and a search is continuing for the seven others.

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, left, and Japanese navy chief of staff Ryo Sakai, right, attend a press conference at Defense Ministry in Tokyo Monday, April 22, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, left, and Japanese navy chief of staff Ryo Sakai, right, attend a press conference at Defense Ministry in Tokyo Monday, April 22, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Kyodo News via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows the retrieved components which are believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows the retrieved components which are believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows a retrieved component which is believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows a retrieved component which is believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows a retrieved component which is believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows a retrieved component which is believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

The two SH-60K reconnaissance helicopters from the Maritime Self-Defense Force lost contact late Saturday during nighttime anti-submarine training near Torishima island, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) south of Tokyo, officials said.

A crew member who was recovered early Sunday from the water was later pronounced dead. Searches continued Monday for the seven who were still missing, along with the fuselage of the aircraft. The seabed at the crash site east of Torishima is about 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) deep and the recovery is considered a challenge.

Officials believe the two helicopters likely came too close and collided, Kihara said.

The flight data recorders from the two aircraft were found close together, along with a blade from each helicopter, a number of helmets and fragments believed to be from both aircraft — signs the two SH-60Ks crashed almost at the same spot, officials said.

The twin-engine, multi-mission helicopters developed by Sikorsky and known as Seahawks were modified and produced in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Japan has about 70 of the modified Seahawks.

The crash comes as Japan, under its 2022 security strategy, accelerates its military buildup and fortifies its defenses on southwestern Japanese islands in the Pacific and East China Sea to counter threats from China’s increasingly assertive military. Japan in recent years has conducted its own extensive naval exercises as well as joint drills with the United States and other partners.

Saturday’s nighttime anti-submarine warfare training involved only the Japanese navy, navy chief of staff Ryo Sakai said.

In 2017, a Japanese navy SH-60J, an earlier generation Seahawk, crashed during nighttime training due to human error, killing three crew. In July 2021, two SH-60s had a minor collision off the southern island of Amami Oshima, with both suffering blade damage, but causing no injuries.

Following the 2021 collision, the navy introduced a set of measures aimed at ensuring enough distance between aircraft. Sakai said Saturday’s crash could have been prevented if all safety measures had been adequately followed.

In the U.S., the fatal crash of a MH-60S Seahawk during training off the coast of California in 2021 was attributed to mechanical failure from unsuspected damage during maintenance, according to the U.S. Navy.

Japanese navy chief of staff Ryo Sakai speaks during a press conference at Defense Ministry in Tokyo Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese navy chief of staff Ryo Sakai speaks during a press conference at Defense Ministry in Tokyo Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, left, and Japanese navy chief of staff Ryo Sakai, right, attend a press conference at Defense Ministry in Tokyo Monday, April 22, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, left, and Japanese navy chief of staff Ryo Sakai, right, attend a press conference at Defense Ministry in Tokyo Monday, April 22, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Kyodo News via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows the retrieved components which are believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows the retrieved components which are believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows a retrieved component which is believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows a retrieved component which is believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows a retrieved component which is believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

This image released by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force shows a retrieved component which is believed to be a part of a crashed helicopter, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Initial analysis of flight data recorders recovered from the waters in the Pacific near the crash site of the two Japanese navy helicopters showed no sign that mechanical problems in the aircraft caused the accident, Japan’s defense minister said Monday, as he indicated human error. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force via AP)

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Archer's return gives England wary optimism of retaining the T20 World Cup title

2024-05-22 10:59 Last Updated At:11:00

LONDON (AP) — Fingers crossed.

That was the common expression used about Jofra Archer by Rob Key, the managing director of England's men’s cricket, when he announced the squad for the Twenty20 World Cup.

Key spoke for Archer, England and it supporters as he hoped the sleek paceman capable of bowling speeds of 95 mph (152 kph) will not only make the starting line of the tournament in the Caribbean and the U.S., but also stay fit for however long England's title defense lasts.

Following his stunning international debut in the summer of 2019, Archer has spent long and regular stints on the injured list.

England changed its eligibility rules in time for the Barbados-born Archer to help the team in 2019 win its first Cricket World Cup in the 50-over format and draw the Ashes test series at home against Australia.

Then elbow and back issues limited his appearances.

He missed the next two Ashes series and hasn't played a test in three years; since the 2019 World Cup final he's played only seven one-day internationals; and he hasn't played a Twenty20 in more than a year. He has missed the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cups and the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

Archer's health issues wore him down so much he questioned his desire to keep playing. But he was extra motivated by the thought of playing in front of family, friends and his dogs in Barbados, which hosts England's first two T20 World Cup games against Scotland on June 4 and Australia on June 8.

Initial fitness deadlines set by England didn't work for Archer, or made things worse, so team management has taken a cautious approach to getting him right and giving him a shot at a lengthy career. At 29, there's still plenty of cricket in him.

Archer was permitted to return to Barbados to get fit. His first action in England this year wasn't until last week; six brisk overs for the Sussex Second XI.

From there it was straight into this week's Twenty20 series against Pakistan, marking his first England appearance at home since September 2020. Archer will return with a managed workload and expectations.

“Don't expect too much, too soon,” captain Jos Buttler said. “The great success would be him coming through this series with a big smile on his face and his body holding up.”

The main aim is to get Archer primed for the T20 World Cup.

England, too.

The Cricket World Cup crown in the 50-over format was surrendered without much resistance in India last November due in large part to England being too busy to come together until the last minute.

Lesson learned, the eight players in the Indian Premier League were brought home before this week's playoffs — even if their teams qualified — to settle into their national team roles in the crucial Pakistan series.

Some had profitable IPL seasons. Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Will Jacks scored centuries, allrounder Sam Curran averaged 27 and took 16 wickets, and wicketkeeper-batter Phil Salt scored four half-centuries and averaged 39.54 at a strike rate of 182.00.

Among Buttler's provisional 15-man squad, 10 were at the 2022 World Cup, but not left-arm fast bowler Reece Topley. Just three days before England's 2022 opening match, Topley stood on a boundary cushion in practice, damaged ankle ligaments, and returned home. When he's not injured, Topley's bowling has shone in the power play and death overs.

Ben Stokes hit the winning run against Pakistan in the 2022 final in Melbourne, but the test captain ruled himself out of this T20 World Cup to rehab his knee.

Still, England's batting appears stronger than its bowling.

But Archer will offer a fear factor for opposing teams.

“As always with Jofra, it's fingers crossed until he's out there playing,” Key says. “You don't quite believe it until he's there.”

AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket

FILE - England celebrate with their trophy after defeating Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. The return of fast bowler Jofra Archer has boosted England's chances of becoming the first team to win consecutive Twenty20 World Cups.(AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)

FILE - England celebrate with their trophy after defeating Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. The return of fast bowler Jofra Archer has boosted England's chances of becoming the first team to win consecutive Twenty20 World Cups.(AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)

FILE - England's Jofra Archer participates in a training session ahead of their second T20 cricket match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 11, 2023. The return of fast bowler Jofra Archer has boosted England's chances of becoming the first team to win consecutive Twenty20 World Cups. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)

FILE - England's Jofra Archer participates in a training session ahead of their second T20 cricket match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 11, 2023. The return of fast bowler Jofra Archer has boosted England's chances of becoming the first team to win consecutive Twenty20 World Cups. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)

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