Hokkaido plane crash claims three


Three people died Thursday when a Civil Aviation College aircraft crashed into a mountain in Hokkaido during a training flight, police said.

Four people were aboard the Beechcraft A36 single-engine propeller plane from the college’s Obihiro branch. The plane took off from Obihiro airport at 9:11 a.m. and contact with it was lost around 9:30 a.m., the police said.

The three bodies recovered at the crash site are believed to be those of pilot Kenjiro Tanaka, 44, instructor Ryuji Morizono, 45, and trainee Ichiro Fujii, 23. The police are trying to confirm their identities.

The surviving occupant, trainee Isamu Kawaguchi, 23, was found alive in Memuro, near Obihiro. He managed to get out of the wreckage and walk down the mountain. “The airplane crashed caught fire,” the police quoted him as saying.