US Navy aircraft carrying 11 crew crashes into sea near Okinawa, Japan

The U.S. Navy says an aircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers has crashed into the Pacific Ocean while on the way to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

The Reagan crew and Japanese forces were conducting search and rescue operations Wednesday afternoon and trying to recover the remaining crew and passengers.

The Japan-based 7th Fleet says in a statement that the search and rescue operation has been launched from the carrier.

The government in Tokyo said it had been informed eight people had been plucked to safety, and that United States authorities had said engine trouble was the suspected cause of the accident.

The White House and President Donald Trump have yet to comment on the matter.

"Personnel recovery is under way and their condition will be evaluated by USS Ronald Reagan medical staff".

While confirming the news, Japan's defense minister said, eight of the people on board have been found, but it was not clear whether they are alive or not. The Reagan is home-ported at the USA naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

There was no immediate information on what kind of aircraft was involved, but over 60 planes and helicopters of different types operate from the USS Ronald Reagan, according to the carrier group's website.

"The 7th Fleet has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the removal of eight top Navy officers from their posts, including the 7th Fleet commander".

The USS John S McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 US sailors dead.

  • Rogelio Becker