A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people aboard crashed into the Philippine Sea on Wednesday, the U.S. military said.
The Japan-based U.S. 7th Fleet said the aircraft was on the way to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean southeast of the Japanese island of Okinawa at 2:45 p.m. Japan time.
Japan’s defense minister said eight people were found. It wasn't clear if they are alive.
The 7th Fleet said the names of the crew and passengers were being withheld until their families have been informed.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known. The USS Ronald Reagan is conducting search and rescue operations, the military said.
The 7th Fleet has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year, leaving 17 sailors dead and leading to the removal of eight Navy officers from their posts, including the 7th Fleet commander.
The USS 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 USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan.
The Navy 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, including improved training to increasing sleep and stress management for sailors.
Contributing: The Associated Press