Police began an investigation Monday after five people were injured Sunday when a private helicopter crashed into the sea off Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, police said.
Pilot Eiichi Hasegawa, a 46-year-old local resident, was listed in critical condition, while his four passengers suffered minor injuries, police said.
According to police sources, Hasegawa did not know his four passengers, but saw them having a barbecue next to the helicopter hangar near his house Sunday and invited them for a ride. A few minutes after takeoff, the helicopter hit a concrete breakwater and plunged into the sea, the sources said.
Hasegawa is an employee of Daiwa Juhan, a housing sales company in Yokohama and owner of the Aerospatiale 350-B helicopter. The four passengers were identified as Tsuyoshi Saito, 30, Shuichi Miyagawa, 22, Tomohiro Miyagawa, 22, and Koichi Yokomizo, 18.
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