Eight people were rescued and three are missing after a U.S. Navy transport plane crashed Wednesday into the western Pacific Ocean.
The Navy said the twin-propeller C2-A Greyhound aircraft plummeted into the sea about 925 kilometers southeast of Okinawa while it was on a routine mission taking passengers and cargo from a U.S. base in Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.
It said the eight people were rescued about 40 minutes later and taken to the Reagan where they were reported in good condition. U.S. and Japanese naval ships are searching for the missing.
There was no immediate explanation for the crash and the Navy said the incident is being investigated.
U.S. President Donald Trump, at his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for the Thanksgiving weekend holiday, said in a Twitter comment that he is monitoring the situation.
"Prayers for all involved," he said.
The Reagan was operating in the Philippine Sea as part of joint exercises with Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, part of 10 days of training designed to increase defensive readiness and interoperability in air and sea maneuvers between the two countries.
More than 14,000 U.S. personnel are participating in the drills, which also include the guided-missile destroyers USS Stethem, USS Chafee and USS Mustin, and a maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadron.
Wednesday's crash was the third major incident involving the U.S. Navy's Japan-based 7th Fleet this year. It has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the Defense Department's removal of eight top Navy officers from their posts, including the 7th Fleet commander.
After investigations, the Navy concluded the collisions were avoidable, resulting from widespread failures by commanders and crew members, who did not recognize and respond quickly to the emergencies as they unfolded. The Navy has called for improved training, and increasing sleep and stress management for sailors.
Source: Voice of America