October 15th 2019
A woman in her 70s died after accidentally falling from a helicopter in a rescue operation during Typhoon Hagibis.
The Tokyo Fire Department apologized on October 13th for the accident, saying that rescuers forgot to attach the hook of her safety harness.
The accident occurred at around 10 a.m. on Sunday in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. The 77-year-old woman fell from a height of 40 meters, and was confirmed dead after being taken to hospital.
Fire department officials say one person is supposed to attach the hook and another confirms it is securely in place, but the procedure was not followed in this case.
According to the fire department, the rescue operation was carried out by the “Air Hyper Rescue” a unit that was using a helicopter, and there was a mistake in attaching the hook while supporting the weight of the woman.
When attaching the hook to support the evacuee’s weight, it is the procedure for two members to attend to the task, that after one person attaches the hook, the other person confirms that it is attached.
The Air Captain said “Normally, the carabiner clip carries both the rescuer and the one being rescued, but the ground was submerged, so another member wore a harness while holding the woman. I think this is the reason why I lost sight of the procedure. ”
The Deputy Director of the Tokyo Fire Department, Mr.Shimizu apologized saying, “I’m sorry. I’ll confirm the cause and try to prevent recurrence and restore trust.”