Air and Sear Scour Philippine Sea for 3 Missing in Crash

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U.S. and Japanese Ships and aircraft were hunting in the Philippine Sea on Thursday for three sailors lost because a U.S. Navy aircraft crashed a day before.

Eight individuals were rescued about 40 minutes after the Crash of the C-2 “Greyhound” transport aircraft Wednesday afternoon, the Navy said. They were taken aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and were in good shape.

The C-2A twin-propeller airplane came down about 500 Nautical miles (925 km) southeast of Okinawa because it was bringing passengers and cargo from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said in a statement. The cause was not clear but the crash could be researched, the Navy said.

The Reagan was engaging in a joint exercise with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force when the airplane crashed. The aircraft and ships had searched over 320 nautical miles as of Thursday morning, the Navy said.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said the crash site is about 150 km (90 miles) northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll. Sailors were “whereabouts unknown” but it would delay releasing their identities publicly for three days because of coverage.

Trump was briefed on the crash. Trump said in a tweet: “We’re monitoring the situation.”

The Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet has had two deadly accidents in Asian waters this season, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the elimination of eight leading Navy officers from their posts, including the 7th fleet commander.

The Navy has concluded the crashes were avoidable and caused widespread failures from the crews and commanders, who did not quickly recognize and react to unfolding emergencies. A Navy report recommended numerous changes to deal with the problems, ranging from enhanced training to increasing stress and sleep management for sailors.