MANILA, Philippines – A US Navy aircraft crashed in the Philippine Sea on Monday, November 12, after a “mechanical issue” forced its crew to eject while conducting routine operations.
The crash of the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 F/A-18 “is under investigation.”
Osamu Kosakai, spokesman for the ministry’s Okinawa defense bureau, meanwhile said the jet crashed some 250 kilometers (156 miles) east-southeast of Okinawa’s capital city Naha at around 11:45 am (0245 GMT).
“The crew was immediately and safely recovered by USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) search and rescue aircraft and brought back to the ship for evaluation by medical personnel. Both aviators are in good condition,” the US Navy said in a statement Monday.
“Ronald Reagan has resumed normal operations,” it added.
The US Navy said CVW 5 is onboard Ronald Reagan, “and is currently underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Japan’s coastguard “dispatched an aircraft to the waters to see if there is any debris or floating oil”, a coastguard spokesman told AFP.
Okinawa accounts for less than one percent of Japan’s total land area, but hosts more than half of the approximately 47,000 American military personnel stationed in Japan.
The Philippine Sea is found east and northeast of the Philippines, and is different from the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea on the other side of the archipelago. – with reports from the Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com