US Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes southeast of Okinawa; 8 rescued

  • US Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes southeast of Okinawa; 8 rescued

US Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes southeast of Okinawa; 8 rescued

A major rescue operation is now under way after the aircraft came down southeast of Okinawa.

The eight sailors are in good condition while rescue crews continue to search for the other three, the navy says.

Eleven crew and passengers were aboard the Navy transport plane during the crash, which took place around 2:45 p.m. Japan Standard Time.

The cause of the crash was unclear, as was whether any of those aboard the aircraft had survived.

United States and Japanese naval ships and aircraft are searching for the missing.

It was reported that the plane crashed while it was on its way to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, officials confirm.

The C-2 "Greyhound" aircraft crashed into the Pacific about 150 kilometres (90 miles) northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll, Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said, according to a ministry spokesman.

The names of the crew and passengers on board of the plane are now being withheld.

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

The incident adds to a list of fatal crashes recorded by US Navy and Marine Corps aviation forces this year.

The USS John S McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 US sailors dead. In the month of June, the USS Fitzgerald reportedly smashed into cargo ship off the coast of Japan and killed at least seven passengers on board.