Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

US F-15 fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan's Okinawa

US F-15 fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan's Okinawa

The cause of the 6:30 a.m. crash is under investigation.

Kadena Air Base has paused all F-15 Eagle flying operations after a pilot crashed in the early hours Monday morning off the coast of Okinawa, the base said Monday. "Our hearts and prayers go to the pilot and his family as they go through this hard time", Kadena airbase wrote on their Twitter account.

The plane was from the US Air Force's Kadena Base, which said on Twitter that its pilot successfully ejected from the plane and was safely recovered by search and rescue teams.

Almost 18,000 Americans and more than 4,000 work on Kadena Air Base, which is home to the 18th Wing and associated US Air Force units. "I sincerely appreciate the strong support of our Japanese partners in this hard situation".

No one else was injured or involved but the crash has raised fresh questions about the safety of U.S. military flights in the region after a spate of accidents.

A series of accidents involving US military aircraft have stoked tensions and in January US Defence Secretary James Mattis apologised to his Japanese counterpart over the incidents.

It is the 12th United States military aircraft crash so far this year. "We would like to continue asking for their flight safety".

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The U.S. has a heavy military presence in Okinawa that has been the source of friction with the local government and some residents.

"If that happens, we can not fulfill our responsibilities to our children and grandchildren", Onaga said.

A U.S. F-15 jet fighter leaves after an airstrike against Taliban insurgent positions in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province, near the border with Pakistan, Aug. 28, 2011.

The U.S. Air Force is also considering replacing the F-15s, worth around $36 million each, with F-16 fighting falcons by 2020.

In March, Japanese officials called on the USA military to provide information after an antenna fell from an Okinawa-based F-15 on February 27.

The F-15 is the Air Force's legacy air superiority fighter and costs $29.9 million per jet.

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