US Air Force F-15
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US F-15 Jet Crashes In To Sea Off Okinawa

The aircraft was taking part in a routine training mission near the island, where most of US forces in Japan are based...

US Air Force F-15

Cover: archive picture of a US Air Force F-15 fighter jet.

A US military F-15C Eagle fighter jet has crashed in waters off Okinawa, Japan, according to a US Forces Japan statement.

The aircraft, assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron, 18th Wing, was taking part in a routine training mission near the island, where most of US forces in Japan are based.

According to Kadena Air Base's Twitter, the pilot "successfully ejected and was safely recovered by Search and Rescue teams":

He is in serious condition and has now been transferred to US Naval Hospital on Camp Foster.

Col Richard Tanner, 18th Wing Vice Commander, said: "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."

The statement also said the cause of the incident is unknown at this time, but that a board of officers will conduct an investigation.

Meanwhile, Kadena Air Base has paused F-15 local training operations while the 18th Wing reviews operational, maintenance and safety procedures with personnel.

About 26,000 American troops are stationed at the base, and local residents have expressed concerns in the past about military crime and crowding on the island.

Last November, US military personnel in Okinawa was restricted to base and banned from drinking alcohol after a marine was arrested over a crash that killed a Japanese man.

The Japanese government is currently moving ahead with plans to relocate the US base from Okinawa to the less populated Henoko district in the island’s north.

In January, the US government apologised to Japan for a number of incidents in the country involving American military personnel and equipment.