TOKYO — A U.S. Navy transporter plane carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan, the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said Wednesday. Eight people have been found — although it was not immediately clear whether they were alive — and the search for the remaining three is continuing.
This is the latest accident to befall the 7th Fleet, which is based in the Japanese port of Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, and has endured multiple collisions at sea this year, including two involving guided-missile destroyers that left 17 sailors dead.
The C-2 Greyhound aircraft was traveling to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, which is currently in the Philippine Sea on exercises with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, when it crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time Wednesday, the 7th Fleet said in a statement.
The Reagan crew was conducting search and rescue operations Wednesday afternoon and trying to recover the remaining crew and passengers. The cause of the crash is not known, the 7th Fleet said.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told local reporters that eight people had been recovered from the plane, although it was not clear whether they were found alive. The 7th Fleet, which is did not immediately comment on his statement.
“The Maritime Self-Defense Force is currently searching with U.S. forces,” Onodera said, according to public broadcaster NHK. “We received information from U.S. Forces that the cause is possibly engine malfunction,” he said.
The C-2 is a twin-engine cargo plane designed to transport people and supplies to and from aircraft carriers. It crashed 93 miles north-west of Okinotori island, about halfway between Okinawa and…