February 25, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo
At about 1:10 p.m. on February 25, a steel object was dropped from a CH-53E transport helicopter, which is stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, over the ocean 1.3 kilometers west of Torii Station in Yomitan Village.
The object was being suspended from and transported by the helicopter, during which time it became insecure and was dropped into the ocean.
The helicopter was flying out of Torii Station toward a military shooting range.
On that day, steel objects were observed being lined up and apparently used as targets for shooting training on Torii Station.
After the CH-53E took off, one of the steel objects was lost. It appears that the objects were suspened from and transported by a CH-53E helicopter.
At about 9:00 p.m. on February 25 it was announced via email that the helicopter in question belonged to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
The Okinawa Defense Bureau informed the Okinawa prefectural government, the Yomitan Village government, and Ginowan City government.
According to the Defense Bureau, a U.S. military spokesperson emphasized that the military confirmed that there were no nearby ships or civilians before dropping the object.
Moreover, it was explained that the object was intentionally released in order to ensure the safety of the crew.
The Marine Corps will stop transporting similar objects until the cause is investigated.
The military spokesperson said that that dropped object does not include hazardous substances.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)