U.S. Navy aircraft carrying 11 crashes into the Pacific Ocean; 8 have been found in good condition

The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan is escorted Oct. 21 into the Busan port in South Korea.
(Jo Jung-ho / Associated Press)

A plane carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday while on the way to the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said.

The U.S. Navy said eight people who were recovered from the crash of a transport aircraft in the Pacific are in good condition and the search continues for three other missing personnel.

The Navy said in a tweet that the eight are on board the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

The Navy's Japan-based 7th Fleet said earlier on Tuesday in a statement that a search and rescue operation was launched from the carrier.

"Personnel recovery is underway and their condition will be evaluated by USS Ronald Reagan medical staff," the statement said.

Sources: Associated Press, Mapzen, OpenStreetMap

The C-2 "Greyhound" aircraft crashed into the Pacific about 90 miles northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, according to a ministry spokesman.

The Navy said the ship was operating in the Philippine Sea, which is east of the Philippines, when the crash occurred at 2:45 p.m. local time. The names of the crew and passengers are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, the Navy said.

The plane was taking part in an ongoing joint U.S.-Japan naval exercise in waters surrounding Okinawa from Nov. 16-26. The Navy called it the "premier training event" between the two navies, designed to increase defensive readiness and interoperability in air and sea operations.

The 7th Fleet has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the removal of eight top Navy officers from their posts, including the 7th Fleet commander.

The vessel John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 U.S. sailors dead. Seven sailors died in June when the ship Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan.

The Navy has concluded that the collisions were avoidable and resulted from widespread failures by the crews and commanders, who didn't quickly recognize and respond to unfolding emergencies. A Navy report recommended numerous changes to address the problems, ranging from improved training to increasing sleep and stress management for sailors.


2:50 a.m.: This article was updated with the condition of eight people.

1:40 a.m.: This article was updated that eight people on board were found.

12:25 a.m.: This article was updated with additional reporting.

This article was originally published at 12:05 a.m.