Search and rescue crews are searching for three people who are missing after a U.S. Navy transport plane crashed Wednesday into the Philippine Sea southeast of the island of Okinawa.
Eight of the 11 people aboard the plane were rescued and remain in good condition aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, according to a statement by the Navy.
Ships and aircraft from the Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan are continuing to search the area for the three missing people. The names of those who are missing are being withheld, pending notification of family members.
How did it happen?
Around 2:45 p.m. Japan Standard Time, the aircraft crashed while conducting a routine transport flight for passengers and cargo from the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni to the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). As the plane approached the carrier, the distance to it was apparently miscalculated, a Navy public affairs officer told CNN.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Tough year for the Navy
A series of incidents in the past year has caused the deaths of 17 sailors, CNN reported:
● In August, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was removed as the commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan.
● Ten sailors died following a crash in August between the destroyed USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship near Singapore, according to published reports.
● Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald hit a cargo ship off Japan. A Navy investigation determined the fatal accidents were avoidable.
● In May, the USS Lake Champlain, a guided missile cruiser, was struck by a South Korean fishing boat during operations near the Korean Peninsula, according to CNN. No injuries were reported in that incident.
● In January, the USS Antietam ran aground, damaged its propellers and spilled hydraulic oil into waters off of the coast of Japan. No one was injured during the mishap, but the oil spill caused environmental concerns.