Search begins for missing small aircraft in western Japan

11:20, January 04, 2011      

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Japanese police, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces helicopters on Tuesday morning began searching for a small aircraft that went missing Monday with two people aboard in Kumamoto Prefecture in western Japan, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.

The aircraft, piloted by Hiroshi Koda, a 53-year-old doctor from Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, with his wife on board, lost radar contact about two minutes after leaving Kumamoto Airport at 5:12 p.m. Monday for Kitakyushu Airport, according to the report.

Some 100 people taking part in the search began climbing the 942-meter-high Mt. Yago in the town of Ozu about 15 kilometers northeast of Kumamoto Airport, the area where the plane went missing, with three Air Self-Defense Force choppers covering the search site from the air, the report said..

Koda had landed the aircraft at Kumamoto Airport at around 5 p. m. after taking a family trip to an island with his wife and their two children. The two children got off at the airport before the plane took off for Kitakyushu, the report said, quoting the police.

Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said the aircraft carried fuel only enough to continue until around 7:20 p.m., adding that several aircraft received an unidentified distress signal over the Kyushu area Monday which may have been issued by the missing aircraft.

Source: Xinhua

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