Search ends for 3 sailors miss­ing in air­craft crash

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS -

The search has ended for three sailors miss­ing in the Philip­pine Sea since a U. S. Navy air­craft crashed on Wed­nes­day, the navy said Fri­day.

The C-2A “Grey­hound” trans­port air­craft was trav­el­ing to the USS Ron­ald Rea­gan air­craft car­rier when it crashed. Eight peo­ple were res­cued quickly and are in good con­di­tion, but Ja­panese and U.S. ships and air­craft had con­tin­ued search­ing for the oth­ers.

The Navy’s 7th Fleet said de­tails of the three miss­ing sailors were be­ing with­held pend­ing com­ple­tion of no­ti­fi­ca­tion of next of kin pro­ce­dures.

The Navy is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the crash.

The twin-pro­pel­ler plane crashed about 500 nau­ti­cal miles (925 kilo­me­ters) south­east of Ok­i­nawa while bring­ing pas­sen­gers and cargo fromJa­pan to the air­craft car­rier.

The Rea­gan was par­tic­i­pat­ing in a joint ex­er­cise with Ja­pan’s navy when the plane crashed. It was lead­ing the search and res­cue ef­forts along with Ja­pan’s naval forces.

The Navy de­scribes the Nov. 16-26 joint ex­er­cise in wa­ters off Ok­i­nawa as the “premier train­ing event” be­tween the U.S. and Ja­panese navies, de­signed to in­crease de­fen­sive readi­ness and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity in air and sea op­er­a­tions.

The Navy’s Ja­pan-based 7th Fleet has had two fa­tal naval ac­ci­dents in Asian wa­ters this year, leav­ing 17 sailors dead and prompt­ing the re­moval of eight topNavy 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 has con­cluded the col­li­sions were avoid­able and rec­om­mended changes in­clud­ing im­proved train­ing and in­creas­ing sleep and stress man­age­ment for sailors.

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