• Kyodo

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Two Ground Self-Defense Force attack helicopters collided in midair during a training flight Monday and crashed on a mountain in Isobe, Mie Prefecture, killing two of the four crew members on board, the GSDF and police said.

GSDF search teams found the AH-1S Apache choppers near 336-meter Mount Aomine. One of the four crew members died at the crash site and another went into cardiac arrest and was later pronounced dead, police said.

The remaining two were injured.

Authorities identified the deceased as Capt. Katsuya Nakata and 1st Lt. Seiki Takase. They had been in one of the craft.

The helicopters, each carrying an instructor and a student pilot, collided 300 meters above the ground. The collision occurred about 20 km southeast of Mount Aomine at around 10 a.m. No residents live near the crash site.

The two antitank helicopters belong to the flight school at the GSDF Akeno base in Obata. The school said the helicopters were engaging in low-altitude training, adding such exercises normally involve flying at 3 to 15 meters above the ground.

The other chopper carried Capt. Masataka Yagi and his student, Capt. Hideyuki Ito.

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