MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Japanese Defense Ministry believes that the debris discovered floating on the sea near the Japanese town of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture could be parts of a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) helicopter that earlier disappeared from radars, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday.
"We believe that debris discovered at the site are parts of a crashed chopper," Onodera told a press conference, as quoted by the NHK broadcaster.
According to the earlier media reports, four people were on board when the helicopter disappeared from radars on Tuesday evening. The JASDF helicopters are currently searching for the crew. The incident allegedly took place during night-time search and rescue flight training in central Japan. The aircraft lost contact soon after leaving the base.
Media reports claim the helicopter belonged to the Air Self-Defense Forces base in Hamamatsu, which is located around 250 kilometers [150 miles] from Tokyo.