A Fukushima prefectural police helicopter lies on its side in a rice paddy in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 1 after it made an emergency landing there. (Takahiro Kumakura)

KORIYAMA, Fukushima Prefecture--A police helicopter carrying a heart for a transplant at a Tokyo hospital was buffeted by strong winds and made a crash landing in a rice paddy here on Feb. 1, injuring seven people aboard.

The delay in delivering the heart and the impact of the hard landing prevented it from being transplanted into a waiting patient.

None of the injured aboard were in a life-threatening condition.

After the accident, the heart was rushed in a police car to Fukushima Airport in the prefecture where a chartered airplane was waiting, about an hour and 10 minutes behind schedule.

The organ was eventually delivered to Tokyo University Hospital in the capital, where the transplant was scheduled to take place.

However, surgeons at the hospital decided against the transplant.

The doctors were concerned about the effects of the delay and the impact from the emergency landing on the organ, according to the Japan Organ Transplant Network, Japan’s only organization in facilitating organ donations.

The heart was donated by a man in his 50s who was pronounced brain dead.

The police helicopter Azuma took off from a hospital in Aizuwakamatsu in the prefecture at 8 a.m., with seven people aboard, including police officers and doctors.

At 8:10 a.m. it made the forced landing when it reached the Koriyama basin, where a warning for gale-force winds has been issued, after flying over nearly 1,000-meter high mountains.

The rear of the helicopter was broken and the aircraft's propellers were strewn over hundreds of meters.

“The helicopter became unstable due to strong winds,” the 38-year-old pilot of the helicopter was quoted as saying by Fukushima prefectural police. “I made the forced landing after searching for an area without houses.”

Of the seven people aboard, four suffered serious injuries, including broken bones.

The accident site is about 15 kilometers southwest of JR Koriyama Station with houses situated nearby.

The transport ministry sent investigators to the scene to collect more details about the accident on Feb. 2.

“The helicopter came close with a roaring sound and it was really scary as it appeared to fall on a house,” said a 58-year-old woman who witnessed the accident.

(This article was written by Taro Kotegawa and Shoko Rikimaru.)