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US Fighter Jet Crashes Into Waters Off The Coast Of Japan

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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A Marine Corps fighter jet plummeted into waters off the coast of Okinawa after a training flight went awry, reports CNN.

An AV-8B Harrier Jump Jet crashed 95 miles off Hedo Cape Thursday, confirmed the Japanese 11th Regional Coast Guard.

The pilot was able to eject from the aircraft safely before the crash. The Japanese coast guard responded to the distress call and sent out rescue teams at around 2 P.M. local time. News came in two hours later that the pilot had been safely rescued at the crash site.

The downed aircraft was a twin-seater; however, the Harrier fighter jet is usually flown as a single-pilot plane.

The flight was reportedly a routine training flight, Capt. Eric Flanagan, spokesman for the Third Marine Expeditionary Force, told reporters. “The most important thing is that the pilot ejected safely and is now safe on deck in Okinawa,” he added.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The rescued US Marine Corps pilot was stationed at Camp Butler, and the aircraft took off from the Kadena U.S. Air Base. The jet was assigned to Okinawa, which is home to more than half of the 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan under the provisions of the bilateral security agreement.

Crashes and related issues occur regularly, much to the consternation of the local populace.

A MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter belonging to the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment crashed on a Navy cargo ship in August 2015, injuring six service members, including two Japanese special response units. In February of last year, parts fell off of an F-15 from Kadena. Situations like this have occurred over and over again in Okinawa prefecture. Parts of a U.S. Marine Corps AH attack helicopter fell during a flight near Irisuna Island in January 2014.

Local citizens often complain about the crashes, claiming that they are noisy, harm the environment, and endanger people’s lives.

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