Helicopter with nine aboard crashes in central Japan
"Eight people were found near the site, but we don't know their condition," a defense ministry official told AFP.
But the helicopter did not return by its scheduled arrival time and lost contact with air traffic control, said Hiroshi Yoshida, a local official.
Passengers included disaster management officials and firefighters, he added.
Helicopter accidents are not rare in Japan.
In February, two pilots were killed in a military helicopter crash in southern Japan.
It went down seven minutes after takeoff, slamming into and setting on fire a house that was completely destroyed in the accident.
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