1977 Yokohama F-4 crash
|Date||September 27, 1977|
|Summary||Mechanical failure leading to in-flight fire|
|Fatalities||2 (on ground; one other on ground died five years later from injuries related to the crash)|
|Injuries (non-fatal)||7 (on ground)|
|Aircraft type||McDonnell Douglas RF-4B Phantom II|
|Operator||United States Navy /
United States Marine Corps
|Flight origin||Naval Air Facility Atsugi|
The 1977 Yokohama F-4 crash (横浜米軍機墜落事件 Yokohama Beigunki Tsuiraku Jiken?, lit. "Yokohama American Military Aircraft Crash Incident") occurred on 27 September 1977, in Yokohama, Japan. In the crash, a United States Marine Corps RF-4B-41-MC, BuNo 157344, c/n 3717, 'RF611', of VMFP-3, a (reconnaissance variant of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II) flown by a United States Marine Corps crew based at nearby Naval Air Facility Atsugi, en route to USS Midway in Sagami Bay, suffered a mechanical malfunction, the port engine caught fire, and crashed into a residential neighborhood. The crash killed two boys, ages 1 and 3, and injured seven others, several seriously. The two-man crew of the aircraft, Capt. J. E. Miller, of Mendota, Illinois, and 1st Lt. D. R. Durbin, of Natchitoches, Louisiana, ejected and were not seriously injured.
The crash, which occurred near present-day Eda Station, destroyed several houses. The two young boys initially survived the crash into their home, but died later from severe burns. The boys' mother was also severely burned. Due to the fear that she would be adversely affected during her recovery by the shock, she was not told until 29 January 1979, that her sons had died. The mother died in 1982, aged 31, from complications related to her injuries.
- Hirano, Keiji (Kyodo News) (28 September 2012). "Group saves records of fatal U.S. fighter jet crash". Japan Times. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
- Injured Residents against the Two U.S. Pilots and the State (Japan), Case No. wa-20965 (1980). The Hanreijiho (Judicial Reports) No. 1225, pp. 45 et seq. Dismissal (Yokohama District Court 4 March 1987) (“As is evident from the tenor of the oral proceedings, the accident occurred in the performance of the defendants’ official duties as members of the U.S. armed forces. We hold, therefore, that the two defendants are not liable for reparations and that the plaintiffs’ present claim against the two defendants is inappropriate.”).
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