A US Navy transport plane carrying 11 people crashed in waters southeast of Japan’s Okinawa island as it flew to the aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan, the US Seventh Fleet said.
Eight people have been rescued in good condition, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. The remaining three are unaccounted for.
“Search and rescue efforts for three personnel continue with US Navy and Japan maritime Self-Defense Force ships and aircraft on scene,” the US Seventh Fleet said in a news release.
“The incident will be investigated,” it added.
A— 7th Fleet (US7thFleet) November 22, 2017
USNavyaircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa while en-route to the Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). #USSRonaldReagan is conducting search and rescue operations. https://t.co/ZJqpxyYqcR
Japanese Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera told reporters the US Navy had informed him that the crash in the Philippine Sea may have been a result of engine trouble.
The propeller-powered transport plane, a C-2 Greyhound, carries personnel, mail and other cargo from mainland bases to carriers operating at sea.
The aircraft has been in operation for more than 50 years and is due to be replaced by the long-range tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft.