1959 Okinawa F-100 crash
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The crash site
|Date||June 30, 1959|
|Summary||Mechanical failure leading to in-flight fire|
|Fatalities||17 (on ground)|
|Injuries (non-fatal)||210 (on ground)|
|Aircraft type||North American F-100 Super Sabre|
|Operator||United States Air Force|
|Flight origin||Kadena Air Base|
The 1959 Okinawa F-100 crash occurred on June 30, 1959, in the Ishikawa area (now Uruma) 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."
- Kyodo News (July 1, 2009). "Okinawa school marks 50th year since deadly U.S. fighter crash". Japan Times. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- ひまわり [Himawari] (in Japanese). "Himawari Okinawa wa Wasurenai Ano hi no sora o" Seisaku Iinkai. 2012. Retrieved Dec 18, 2012.
- "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.
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