The wreckage of an Air Self-Defense Force jet carrying six people that went missing Wednesday was found on a mountain in southwestern Japan on Thursday, a senior Defense Ministry official said.
One of the six crew members of the U-125 flight inspection aircraft is feared dead, rather than all six as reported earlier, after the Air Staff Office retracted the ministry's earlier announcement that all six were found near a mountain peak with no vital signs.
The Air Staff Office now says only one was found with no signs of life, and that the mistake occurred due to confusion on the ground. The remaining five are still missing.
The 15-meter twin-engine jet, used for checking on the condition of air navigation facilities, disappeared from radar around 2:35 p.m. Wednesday after taking off from the Maritime Self-Defense Force's air base in the city of Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture.
The Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighters had mobilized about 600 of their members on Thursday to search around Mt. Takakuma although wind, heavy rain and fog hindered their efforts, limiting the number of actual participants in the day's search to about 260.
The aircraft, belonging to the Flight Check Squadron at the ASDF's Iruma Air Base in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, was captained by a major in his 40s. Other members were a co-pilot, two onboard engineers and two radio operations personnel.
In February last year, an MSDF helicopter that left the Kanoya base crashed on a mountain in neighboring Miyazaki Prefecture, killing three crew members.