US ends search for sailors after Philippine Sea air crash
TOKYO, Japan – The US Navy on Friday, November 24, called off its search for three American sailors missing since their plane crashed in the Philippine Sea.
A C-2A "Greyhound" aircraft with 11 people on board went down Wednesday afternoon, November 22, around 930 kilometers (500 nautical miles) southeast of Okinawa. 8 sailors were rescued shortly after the accident.
All eight "are in good condition at this time," the navy said in a statement.
The decision to abandon the search and rescue comes after two days of operations involving 7 ships from the US Navy and Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force, 3 helicopter squadrons and maritime patrol aircraft.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with our lost shipmates and their families," said the statement.
"As difficult as this is, we are thankful for the rapid and effective response that led to the rescue of eight of our shipmates," it said.
The plane was on a routine transport flight, carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in southern Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan.
The C-2A is a re-supply workhorse for US aircraft carriers, routinely ferrying cargo, mail and people onto and off the globally deployed vessels.
US authorities initially told Japan on Wednesday that engine trouble was the suspected cause of the accident. The Navy says it has launched an investigation.
The crash is the latest in a string of recent accidents involving US naval vessels in the Asia-Pacific region.
In August, the destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a tanker off Singapore, killing 10 sailors and injuring 5 others.
Two months earlier, another destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, and a cargo ship smashed into each other off Japan, leaving 7 sailors dead.
There were also 2 other, lesser-known incidents. In January, the USS Antietam ran aground near its base in Japan, and in May, the USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel. – Rappler.com