1959 Okinawa F-100 crash

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Coordinates: 26°25′51.0702″N 127°49′36.9516″E / 26.430852833°N 127.826931000°E / 26.430852833; 127.826931000

Okinawa F-100 crash
The crash site
Accident summary
Date June 30, 1959
Summary Mechanical failure leading to in-flight fire
Site Uruma, Okinawa
Passengers 0
Crew 1 (survived)
Injuries (non-fatal) 210 (on ground)
Fatalities 17 (on ground)
Aircraft type North American F-100 Super Sabre
Operator United States Air Force
Registration 55-3633A
Flight origin Kadena Air Base

The 1959 Okinawa F-100 crash occurred on June 30, 1959 in the Uruma area of then United States (U.S.)-occupied Okinawa. In the crash, a United States Air Force North American F-100 Super Sabre on a training or test flight from nearby Kadena Air Base suffered an engine fire. The aircraft crashed into Miyamori Elementary School and surrounding houses, killing 11 students and six other people in the neighborhood and injuring 210 others, including 156 students at the school. The pilot, Captain John G. Schmitt, Jr. from Chalmers, Indiana, 34 years old, ejected and was unhurt.

The tragedy contributed to ill-feelings from the Okinawan community towards the U.S. occupation authorities and calls for the island to be returned to the control of the Government of Japan. A memorial statue for the victims of the disaster was erected at the crash site in 1965.

On June 30, 2009, 800 people, including former students of Miyamori Elementary and relatives of the victims attended a 50th-anniversary memorial service at the crash site. Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima spoke at the ceremony, saying, "The Okinawa people of the time were deeply saddened by the accident in which the lives of children having dreams and hopes for the future were lost."[1]

The crash and its aftermath were dramatized in the movie Himawari, directed by Yoshihiro Oikawa (b. 1958), completed in 2012.[2][3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kyodo News (July 1, 2009). "Okinawa school marks 50th year since deadly U.S. fighter crash". Japan Times. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  2. ^ "ひまわり" [Himawari] (in Japanese). "Himawari Okinawa wa Wasurenai Ano hi no sora o" Seisaku Iinkai. 2012. Retrieved Dec 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Movie featuring the U.S. military aircraft crash onto Miyamori Elementary School screened". Ryukyu Shinpo (Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan: Ryukyu Shimpo Co. Ltd.). Dec 9, 2012. Retrieved Dec 20, 2012.