• Kyodo


Two men were killed Monday when their twin-engine plane apparently went into a spin and crashed into a hill in the village of Ogawa, Ibaraki Prefecture, police said.

The plane, which belonged to an aerial-surveying firm, caught on fire after it crashed. Firefighters found the bodies of the two men at the site.

The deceased were tentatively identified as pilot Akihito Sakamoto, 56, and Hiroyuki Nishiyama, 46, police said after contacting the owner of the aircraft, Asia Air Survey Co., based in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.

Some homes stand near the site, but there were no reports of anyone on the ground being injured. Police were alerted by an emergency call telling them that a small plane went into a spin and crashed.

One witness, a 17-year-old employee of a golf driving range, said, “The plane looked like it was performing aerobatics, and then suddenly went into a spin.”

A 23-year-old housewife said: “I was breast-feeding my baby when I heard a loud explosion and the house shook. I wondered if it was a missile.”

According to a flight plan submitted to the transport ministry, the aircraft, a Gulfstream Commander 695, was piloted by Sakamoto and left Tokyo’s Chofu airfield at 10:26 a.m.

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