A U.S. F-15C Eagle fighter jet crashed on Monday morning into the ocean off the coast of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa during a training mission, reported Reuters.
The pilot, who was the only person on the aircraft during the mission, is currently in fair condition, the air base Tweeted along with a statement by the United States Air Force.
Although the cause of the incident remains unknown, a board of officers halted all F-15 training in order to thoroughly review the crash as well as the 18’th Wing’s safety, operations and procedures. Flight training resumed today.
“In the last 24 hours, we’ve inspected all of our F-15’s, and we are confident they are safe to resume training,” said Col. Richard Tanner, 18’th Wing vice commander in an additional statement. “At the same time, we have reinforced the importance of safety and adherence to flight regulations with all of our pilots.”
The fighter jet was from the 44’th Fighter Squadron and 18’th Wing of the Kadena Air Base, where the pilot was undergoing a routine training mission. The pilot had successfully ejected himself from the plane and was rescued safely by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Search and Rescue teams, where he was then transferred to the U.S. Naval Hospital at Camp Foster.
“I would like to personally thank the Naha Rescue Squadron for their quick response this morning, which led to the safe recovery of our Airman. I sincerely appreciate the strong support of our Japanese partners in this difficult situation,” said Col. Tanner.
The crash occurred at 6:36 a.m. on Monday morning, the air base confirmed on Twitter.
The island of Okinawa houses the majority of the U.S. forces in Japan and is currently home to the U.S. Marines’ Futenma air base in the urban area of central Okinawa, in addition to the Kadena Air Base. Many locals that live in the community are fighting to have the bases removed from the island due to rising security concerns and pollution.
As Reuters additionally reported, the Japanese government is actively relocating the Futenma air base from its current location to the Henoko district of Nago city in the northern, and less populated, area of the island.
This is a developing story that will be updated as more information is released.