Published: Wed, June 13, 2018

Pilot rescued after US F-15 crashes off Okinawa, Japan

Pilot rescued after US F-15 crashes off Okinawa, Japan

NAHA, Japan (Kyodo) - A U.S. F-15 fighter jet crashed into the sea off Okinawa on Monday morning, with the pilot rescued by a Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter, government sources said.

The pilot of an F-15C Eagle from Kadena Air Base "successfully ejected and was safely recovered", according to statements from the Air Force and the Okinawa Defense Bureau.

Medics rushed the pilot to a USA naval hospital by helicopter with a broken leg, but his injuries are thought to be "non life-threatening".

The jet reportedly took off from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa and crashed some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the coast.

US Forces Japan confirmed the incident, which happened during a routine training mission.

Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said he has told the United States military to take steps to ensure safety and prevent similar accidents.

The incident marks the 12th crash involving US military aircraft this fiscal year.


Japan has about 200 F-15s deployed as the main aircraft of the Air Self-Defense Force.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga also criticized the Japanese government, noting that a number of troubles with US military aircraft have been reported over the past year.

The pilot has been transferred to a hospital and is in "serious condition", the US Air Force in Kadena said.

"If the problems remain unresolved and another crash occurs, people may become used to it and think that this is how things stand in Okinawa Prefecture", Onaga told reporters. "We will continue asking them to ensure safety", he said.

Significant maintenance issues regarding F-15s have been on the radar in the U.S., forcing a portion of the Air National Guard's fleet to be grounded in March.

"Accidents of US military aircraft are occurring repeatedly".

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