In 1985, Japan Airlines Flight 123 crashed near the United States

In 1985 Japan Airlines Flight 123 crash story

In 1985, Japan Airlines Flight 123 crashed near the United States Air Force’s Yokota Air Base. The USAF assembled rescue teams, but the Japanese government told them to return to base. The Japanese didn’t get there until hours later, when many of the possible survivors had already died

United States Air Force controllers at Yokota Air Base situated near the flight path of Flight 123 had been monitoring the distressed aircraft’s calls for help. They maintained contact throughout the ordeal with Japanese flight control officials and made their landing strip available to the airplane. After losing track on radar, a U.S. Air Force C-130 from the 345 TAS was asked to search for the missing plane. The C-130 crew was the first to spot the crash site 20 minutes after impact, while it was still daylight. The crew radioed Yokota Air Base to alert them and directed a USAF Huey helicopter from Yokota to the crash site. Rescue teams were assembled in preparation to lower Marines down for rescues by helicopter tow line. The offers by American forces of help to guide Japanese forces immediately to the crash site and of rescue assistance were rejected by Japanese officials. Instead, Japanese government representatives ordered the U.S. crew to keep away from the crash site and return to Yokota Air Base, stating the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) were going to handle the entire rescue alone.[citation needed]Although a JSDF helicopter eventually spotted the wreck during the night, poor visibility and the difficult mountainous terrain prevented it from landing at the site. The pilot reported from the air that there were no signs of survivors. Based on this report, JSDF ground personnel did not set out to the site the night of the crash. Instead, they were dispatched to spend the night at a makeshift village erecting tents, constructing helicopter landing ramps and engaging in other preparations, all 63 kilometers from the wreck. Rescue teams did not set out for the crash site until the following morning. Medical staff later found bodies with injuries suggesting that the individual had survived the crash only to die from shock or exposure overnight in the mountains. One doctor said “If the discovery had come ten hours earlier, we could have found more survivors.”Yumi Ochiai, one of the four survivors out of 524 passengers and crew, recounted from her hospital bed that she recalled bright lights and the sound of helicopter rotors shortly after she awoke amid the wreckage, and while she could hear screaming and moaning from other survivors, these sounds gradually died away during the night

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