Missing Japanese plane located in Hokkaido, no survivors

16:43, July 30, 2010      

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A missing single-engined plane that disappeared from radar Wednesday in Hokkaido, was found in a remote mountainous region of Japan's northern prefecture on Friday by a Self-Defense Force rescue team.

The two men on board were both confirmed dead, local police reported.

Witnesses in the town of Shiriuchi in southern Hokkaido reported seeing a small plane flying unusually low over the town shortly after 11 a.m. on Wednesday, police said.

One witness reported hearing a loud thud, suggesting the plane had crashed or been forced to make an emergency landing.

Police and Air Self-Defense Force personnel combed the area by land and air but their search was hampered by bad weather, resuming Thursday morning the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.

The Cessna TU206G registered with Aichi Prefecture-based Nakanihon Air Service Co. was heading from Niigata airport to Okadama airport in Sapporo when contact was lost on Wednesday morning, the transport ministry said.

The small plane was piloted by Isao Hata, 46, with photographer Shoji Furuta, 60, according to Nakanihon Air Service Co., both men were found dead at that scene, local police said.

The plane departed from Niigatta airport and was scheduled to arrive at Okadama airport in Sapporo before 1 p.m., having taken aerial photos of the region.

The plane was carrying enough fuel for a 5.5 hours of flight, the company said, but full details of the plane's crash have yet to be disclosed.

The pilot and passenger were both employees of Nakanihon Air Service Co.

Source: Xinhua


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