Chopper crash kills nine in Japan

Tokyo, March 6 (IANS) All nine persons aboard a helicopter that crashed in a mountainous area of Nagano prefecture in Japan on Sunday have died, police said on Monday.

Rescue services alongside a contingent of the Japanese Self-Defence Force (SDF) found the bodies of the all-male crew in and around the wreckage of the helicopter, Xinhua news agency quoted police as saying.

The Bell 412 EP, which belonged to the government and was going to be used to conduct a drill to rescue stranded climbers off a mountain, crashed on Sunday on Mt. Hachibuse.

Earlier on Monday, police said the rescue teams had found the bodies of all nine persons from the crashed helicopter with the search being delayed on Sunday due to bad weather.

The helicopter took off from Matsumoto airport for a mountain rescue drill.

The nine people aboard the helicopter included a pilot, seven fire fighters and an engineer.

A regular inspection was conducted on the crashed helicopter in February, officials said, adding that no abnormalities were found at that time.

–IANS

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