US Navy Aircraft with 11 aboard Crashes Into Sea Off Japan; 8 Found Alive
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Eight people had been found alive after a US Navy aircraft with 11 aboard crashed into the sea off Japan while on the way to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier on Wednesday, the military said.
The eight have been transferred to the aircraft carrier for medical assistance but are in "good condition," the Navy said in a tweet. The search and rescue for three others continues, it added, NBC news reported.
The aircraft is believed to have crashed into the ocean at around 2:45 p.m. local time (00:45 ET.)
The ship, which is in the Philippine Sea, is part of the Japan-based US 7th Fleet.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
The aircraft was taking part in an ongoing 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," a statement on the event said earlier this month.
No further information was immediately available.
The incident comes at a time when the Navy's 7th fleet and the US Pacific Command have come under increased scrutiny after two deadly collisions in Asian waters this year left 17 sailors dead.
Seven US sailors died when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan in June. Two months later in August another navy destroyer, USS John S. McCain, collided with an oil tanker near Singapore, leaving 10 sailors dead.
In the wake of the accidents eight top Navy officials were removed from their posts, including the 7th Fleet commander. After the second collision the Navy ordered the entire fleet to take a one-day “operational pause” to ensure that the ships were meeting safety standards.