US fighter jet crashes off Japan coast

US fighter jet crashes off Japan coast

It added the pilot successfully ejected and was recovered.

A US Air Force pilot is in "serious condition" Monday after a fighter jet crashed into the ocean south of Okinawa in southern Japan.

The pilot has been transferred to a hospital and is in "serious condition", the US Air Force in Kadena said.

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

The F-15C, assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron of the 18th Wing, crashed at approximately 6:26 a.m. The plane took off on a routine training mission.

There was no immediate confirmation of the crash from the defence ministry, which said it was gathering information on the report, or the USA military. "Accidents involving USA military aircraft are occurring repeatedly".

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The jet was flying out of the U.S. military facility of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

Many residents of Okinawa associate the US military bases with crime, accidents and pollution and want them moved off the island. "We would like to continue asking for their flight safety", said Itsunori Onodera, Japan's defense minister, to Japanese wire service Kyodo on Monday.

"We can not fulfill our responsibilities for our children and their children if such a situation becomes the norm", he said.

An F-15 also crashed into the sea off Okinawa in May 2013.

Among more recent notable cases, an MV-22 Osprey aircraft made a crash-landing into waters off Nago, leaving two injured, while a CH-53E helicopter made an emergency landing and burst into flames near a residential area in Higashi in October 2017.

Officials said the cause of the accident is unknown.

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