Schoolboy Injured After Window Falls Off US Military Helicopter

US helicopter loses window mid-flight injures 10yo boy in Japan

On Wednesday morning, an angular object roughly 3ft (1 meter) across fell onto a sports field packed with elementary school children near the Futenma US military base in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa.

A student was slightly injured by small stones thrown up by the impact of the metal-framed window when it hit the playground of the school in the city of Ginowan, located just next to the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

This incident is the latest of many which have compelled the people of Okinawa to demand that the Futenma US military base be relocated from the island to elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.

The incident fueled anger and concerns among local residents, following a similar accident on Thursday, when an object that apparently fell off a United States military aircraft was found on the roof of a nursery located about 300 meters from the air station. "We are responsible for the lives of the children".

The U.S. Marines on Okinawa said in a statement the helicopter had immediately returned and reported the incident.

Takehiro Kamiya, the nursery school's principal, said Tuesday, "I don't want the prefectural and central governments to accept without question what the US military says".

Its planned relocation, pushed by the Japanese and US governments, has been delayed for more than 20 years because many residents want it entirely off of Okinawa.

Okinawans are frustrated by the noise, crime and accidents linked to US bases. Another helicopter belonging to the Futenma base crashed into a nearby university in 2004, injuring three USA crewmembers.

A U.S. Marines CH-53E helicopter made an emergency landing and burst into flames in a U.S. military training area in northern Okinawa in October.



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