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4TH LD: Pilot dies, mechanic unconscious in Shizuoka chopper crash.

SHIZUOKA, Japan, Dec. 9 Kyodo

(EDS: UPDATING)

A male pilot died and a female mechanic was unconscious Sunday after their helicopter under contract with public broadcaster NHK crashed in a pond in Shizuoka City's Aoi Ward, police said.

The pilot, identified as Yoshiaki Komiya, 57, told the chopper operator just before the crash that the helicopter's rudder pedal for changing direction was not working properly and the helicopter lacked stability for landing.

The transport ministry's Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission has sent investigators to determine the cause of the crash, which occurred around 10:55 a.m.

The mechanic was identified as Sachiyo Kameyama, 33, the police said.

The police and other sources said the helicopter involved was a Eurocopter EC 135T2 operated by Tokyo-based All Nippon Helicopter Co., an affiliate of All Nippon Airways Co. It was scheduled to land at Shizuoka heliport for refueling on its way from Tokyo to Osaka.

The helicopter left Tokyo at around 10 a.m. for an annual checkup.

According to NHK, or Japan Broadcasting Corp., the helicopter was usually used by its Niigata bureau for news coverage.

Susumu Inabe, head of the Shizuoka heliport, said, ''The helicopter was hovering for a while above the pond but suddenly fell in a spin.''

Inabe also said the pilot had radioed the heliport in the central Japan prefecture before the crash to check the wind speed and direction but did not sound worried.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Dec 16, 2007
Words:239
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