National

Husband and wife killed in Nara plane crash after attempting to return to Osaka

Kyodo

A small plane crashed Monday in a mountainous area of Nara Prefecture, and the bodies of two people were found near its wreckage, the prefectural police said.

They identified the two deceased as Ryoichi Tanaka, a 68-year-old company executive, and his wife, Sachiko, 55.

The pilot and his wife were flying to Fukushima Prefecture after departing from Yao airport in Osaka at around noon when they inexplicably headed back to Yao, said a person in charge of maintenance for the plane.

The police said they knew a single-prop plane had vanished after departing from Yao and suspect it is the one that crashed.

Police in Nara were told around 12:15 p.m. that a small plane had likely crashed in the village of Yamazoe. Police found two driver’s licenses near the wreckage that were believed to belong to the pair on board.

According to the Nara Fire Department, several residents called to say that they saw what they believed was a burning plane crashing into the mountains. Other residents called to say that there was smoke rising from the site, which is in a sparsely populated and mountainous area.

“I heard a sound like a motorbike backfiring at around noon followed by a heavy thud. The windows shook from the impact,” said a man who was at a nearby tourist facility.

According to transport ministry officials, the same plane returned to Yao airport last Friday due to a malfunctioning radio.