Japanese officials confirmed that at least two people had died after a rescue helicopter with nine people aboard crashed Friday in Nakanojo town, the Gunma prefecture, the NHK broadcaster reported.
Earlier in the day, the Kyodo News Agency specified, citing local officials, that the helicopter left the Gunma prefecture at around 09:15 a.m. local time (0:15 GMT) to examine a mountain route on the borders of the nearby Nagano and Niigata prefectures and was supposed to return an hour and a half later. The officials said that they last contacted the helicopter at around 10:00 a.m. local time and then it went missing, the outlet added.
Later in the day, the police reported that the missing helicopter had been found in the mountains in the Gunma prefecture.
The helicopter, which has been operating since 1997, might have crashed near over 7,000-feet high Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, according to a local weather station.