'A US Navy aircraft has crashed into the Philippine Sea with 11 crew and passengers on board. In a statement, the US 7th Fleet commander says a search operation is underway involving the USS Ronald Reagan.
It is understood the aircraft went down southeast of Okinawa at approximately 2:45pm local time on Wednesday. The US Navy says the names of those involved are being withheld until their family and next of kin can be notified.
The aircraft was en route to the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), which is currently operating in the Philippine Sea.
The cause of the crash is not yet known. However Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera says the crash may have been a result of engine trouble. The propeller-powered transport plane involved in Wednesday’s crash, a C-2 Greyhound, carries personnel and cargo from mainland bases to carriers at sea. In operation for more than five decades, the plane is due to be replaced by the long-range Osprey aircraft.
The crash is the latest in a series of series US Navy incidents this year. Less than a week ago, a destroyer collided with a Japanese tugboat in Sagami Bay, off the east coast of Japan. In June, seven sailors were killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippines container ship in the middle of the night southwest of Yokosuka.'
Read more: US Navy aircraft with 11 on board crashes into ocean southeast of Okinawa
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