• Kyodo

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A man who requested air rescue from a mountainous area in Yamanashi Prefecture was fatally struck Sunday by stones and tree debris possibly dislodged by the hovering chopper’s prop wash, local police said.

The chopper is believed to have caused the trees and stones to fall, the police said, adding they are investigating the details of the failed rescue, which took place near a mountain stream in the village of Tanba.

The man, who was from Yokohama and in his 40s, apparently called for rescue after injuring his left ankle Saturday. His climbing partner alerted the Yamanashi police and an officer located him shortly past noon Sunday.

As the rescue got underway, the man and the police officer were both hit by falling trees and stones at around 1:50 p.m. as the chopper hovered above, the police said.

Koichi Tsuruta of the Yamanashi Prefectural Police released a comment saying it is regrettable that a person who was awaiting rescue died.

“We will investigate the case and take steps for safety,” he said.

The surrounding area is popular with hikers and climbing enthusiasts.

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