Otter 223 was delivered on 6th February 1958 to Toyo Menka Kaisma Ltd, DHC's Japanese agents on behalf of Nitto Aviation Company, registered JA-3115. It was packed into a crate and rail-roaded from Toronto to Vancouver and thence by ship to Tokyo and onwards to its base at Osaka, where it was re-assembled in May 1958. It received a traditional blessing from Shinto priests before entering service. Operated as an amphibian, named “Swallow”, it was the only Otter ever to grace the Japanese register.
On Wednesday 1st May 1963 it took off from the Osaka International Airport at 08:11 hours on a scheduled flight to Tokushima on Shikoku Island, where it was estimating landing at 08:55 hours at the Matsushige Air Base. On board were two pilots and nine passengers, eight Japanese and one visiting American businessman. Visibility was extremely poor in the area due to a rainy front hanging over western Japan. The Otter crashed into Mount Jusuke in the Yuzuruha Mountain Range on Awaji-Shima Island and burst into flames, killing all nine passengers and seriously injuring the two crew.
The pilot subsequently told reporters that visibility suddenly became zero around 08:45 hours when the aircraft passed over Numajima Island, to the south of Awaji-Shima at an altitude of five hundred metres. He made his last contact over Sumoto at 08:52. He was climbing to nine hundred metres when the Otter hit the mountain, scattering wreckage over a fifty metre section of bamboo thicket.
The crash site was located by a Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Forces reconnaissance aircraft.
Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005)