US Navy aircraft crashes into sea off Japan, 11 aboard

US Navy aircraft carrying 11 crashes off Japan

The ship was taking part in Annual Exercise 2017 (AE17), a bilateral field-training exercise with the Japanese Navy conducted in waters off Japan from November 16 to November 26.

The cause of the crash remains unknown, according to the Navy's statement.

A United States Navy aircraft with 11 crew members and passengers on board crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa, Japan, on Wednesday, the 7th Fleet says.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) are conducting dual aircraft carrier strike group operations in the USA 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

Navy officials said 8 people were rescued and in "good condition".

Japan's defense minister says eight of the crew and passengers on the plane have been found, but it's unclear if they're alive.

"The Maritime Self-Defense Force is now searching with US forces", Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Onodera voiced concern about the frequency of aircraft accidents involving USA forces, saying he would ask the American military to take more care with safety.

The propeller powered transport plane, a C-2 Greyhound, carries personnel, mail and other cargo from mainland bases to carriers operating at sea.

By 3:23 p.m. local time, eight people were recovered.

The US Navy lost 10 personnel in August, when the USS John McCain collided with a tanker near Singapore.

The drills come as tensions persist between Washington and North Korea over its missile and nuclear programme.

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