Some persons have gone missing after a United States navy aircraft went crashing inside the Philippine sea en route an American aircraft carrier near Japan.
The Navy plane – reportedly a C2 Greyhound – is said to have suffered engine trouble
No less than eight people have been rescued after a US military aircraft with 11 people on board crashed into the Philippine Sea en route to an American aircraft carrier near Japan.
According to The Sun UK, Japanese and American rescuers scrambled to reach the downed aircraft in seas off the remote reef of Okinotori, in the latest accident to hit American armed forces in East Asia.
The government in Tokyo said it had been informed eight people had been plucked to safety and that US authorities had said engine trouble was the suspected cause of the accident.
“Personnel recovery is under way and their condition will be evaluated by USS Ronald Reagan medical staff,” a US Navy statement said.
The aircraft came down in the Philippine Sea, south-east of the Japanese island of Okinawa as it tried to join up with the US’s “attack fleet” which was recently deployed in the waters around North Korea.
The plane – reportedly a C2 Greyhound – was on its way to the aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan when the crash happened.
The Japan-based 7th Fleet said in a statement that the search and rescue operation has now been launched from the giant ship.
The names of those aboard are being withheld while next of kin are notified, the US Navy said in a statement.
“A United States Navy aircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa,” the statement read.
“Personnel recovery is under way and their condition will be evaluated by USS Ronald Reagan medical staff.
“The aircraft was en route to the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which is currently operating in the Philippine Sea.
“USS Ronald Reagan is conducting search and rescue operations. The cause of the crash is not known at this time.”
The US military has a heavy presence in the western Pacific, with tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of pieces of hardware stationed in Japan and South Korea.
The USS Ronald Reagan last week was one of three American aircraft carriers that held rare joint drills in the region, joined separately by Japanese navy and South Korean warships over the weekend.
The drills come as tensions persist between Washington and North Korea over its missile and nuclear programme.
The propeller powered transport plane, a C-2 Greyhound, carries personnel, mail and other cargo from mainland bases to carriers operating at sea.
The aircraft has been in operation for more than five decades and is due to be replaced by the long-range tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft.
US military vessels have been involved in a number of accidents in recent months in East Asia.
The USS John S. McCain collided with a tanker off Singapore in August, killing 10 sailors and injuring five others.
Two months earlier in June, the USS Fitzgerald and a cargo ship smashed into each other off Japan, leaving seven sailors dead.
There were also two more, lesser-known incidents. In January USS Antietam ran aground near its base in Japan, and in May, USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel.