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Pair of Navy Helicopters Collide on Runway in Japan

An HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 15 lifts off from the flight line at Naval Air Station North Island in 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trevor Welsh)
An HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 15 lifts off from the flight line at Naval Air Station North Island in 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trevor Welsh)

Navy officials are investigating what led two HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopters to run into each other last week on a runway in Japan.

The two utility helicopters "taxied into each other on the taxi ramp" at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa on Oct. 9, according to data from the Naval Safety Center. There were no injuries reported in either aircraft.

The mishap was labeled Class A, which means it resulted in at least $2 million or more in damages.

"There is an investigation ongoing, which will reveal the extent of the damage and what the crews were doing on the ramp," said Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces.

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The aircraft are assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 85. No additional details about the incident were immediately available.

This was the third Class-A mishap involving Sea Hawks in just over two months. In August, a Sea Hawk assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 made a hard landing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. None of the five aircrew members on board at the time was injured.

In July, Naval Helicopter Aircrewman 1st Class Jonathan Richard Clement was killed when a Sea Hawk's auxiliary fuel tank fell off the aircraft and landed on him and another sailor at Naval Air Station North Island, California.

The causes of both of those incidents remain under investigation.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ginaaharkins.

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