Japan: US navy aircraft crash: eight rescued, three still missing

Eight people are in 'good condition' following a US navy aircraft crash, which took place about 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa 

A C-2A Greyhound plane launches from the USS Ronald Reagan during a 2017 exercise
A C-2A Greyhound plane launches from the USS Ronald Reagan during a 2017 exercise

Eight people were rescued and are in “good condition” after a US navy aircraft carrying 11 aboard crashed off the coast of Japan, according to the defence ministry.

The search and rescue for three other missing people is on-going, said the navy in a statement.

The aircraft is believed to have crashed about 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa at 2:45pm (local time) while making its way to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. The ship, which is in the Philippine Sea, is part of the Japan-based seventh fleet.

Search and rescue efforts were being conducted by the US navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) ships and aircrafts.

The names of the crew and passengers are being withheld, pending the notification of the next of kin.

The aircraft was reportedly taking part in an on-going US-Japan naval exercise off the coast of Okinawa, in which some 14,000 US personnel were participating.

The annual exercise is “designed to increase the defensive readiness and interoperability of Japanese and American forces through training in air and sea operations,” said a statement on the event, earlier this month.

The plane was conducting a routine transport flight, carrying cargo and passengers from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni at the time of the crash.

The navy said that the incident is being investigated.

This incident comes at a time when the navy’s seventh fleet and the US Pacific Command are under increased scrutiny, following two deadly collisions in Asian waters this year, which left 17 sailors dead. 

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