Japan Air Self-Defense Force rescues pilot from sea.

Early in the morning of Monday, June 11, seven U.S. F-15 Eagle fighter jets took off from the Air Force’s Kadena Air Base for a routine training flight. During maneuvers, one of the planes crashed into the sea roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Naha, Okinawa’s prefectural capital, making impact with the water at 6:26 a.m.

The fallen plane was a single-seat F-15C variant, and the pilot was able to successfully eject. Though he sustained heavy injuries, he was conscious when a Japan Air Self-Defense response team, in a UH-60 helicopter, arrived on the scene and rescued the downed pilot an hour later.

The pilot has since been transferred to Camp Foster, a Marine Corps facility also on Okinawa, for medical treatment. Japanese media reports that the pilot’s life is in no danger, while Kadena Air Base’s official Twitter account, as of this writing, states his condition is “unknown.” The account also thanked the JSDF crew for recovering the U.S. airman.

The incident follows another crash by a Kadena-based U.S. F-15 that took place in 2013, in which the plane went down approximately 60 kilometers off the coast of Okinawa.

Japanese Coast Guard aircraft and ships are currently carrying out an investigation of the area of the June 11 crash.

Norikazu Kinjo, head of the prefectural government’s Base Relations Department, said that his staff is currently looking into whether any damage was caused to civilian property, though such a situation seems unlikely, given the remote area of the crash. He also called on the U.S. military to take proper safety precautions to prevent such accidents, a sentiment also expressed by Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera. Onodera also stated that he wants the U.S. military to disclose the cause of the crash, if determinable, as Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force also flies the F-15.

Sources: NHK News Web, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Jiji, Air Force Times, Stars and Stripes Japan, Twitter/@KadenaAirBase (1, 2)
Top image: Wikipedia/Hohum