Firefighters battle a blazing home in Kanzaki, Saga Prefecture, where a Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter crashed Feb. 5. (Video footage provided by reader)

A Ground Self-Defense Force attack helicopter that was being put through its paces after maintenance work crashed in a residential area of Kanzaki, Saga Prefecture, on Feb. 5, the Defense Ministry said.

Television footage showed black smoke billowing from the site.

The AH-64D helicopter belonging to the GSDF's Western Army's Aviation Unit crashed at 4:43 p.m. about four kilometers south of the GSDF's Metabaru Base in Yoshinogari, Saga Prefecture.

According to a report submitted to the Defense Ministry by air traffic control at the Metabaru Base, the helicopter was flying in a westward direction when it came down and went up in flames.

Two GSDF members were aboard the helicopter, and both were found in a state of cardiac arrest.

The helicopter had just undergone maintenance work and was being flight tested to ensure it was safe.