A US Navy aircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers has crashed into the sea off Japan south-east of Okinawa. The navy said the craft crashed into the Pacific Ocean as it was travelling to meet the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
How the crash happened was not yet clear, while the names of those aboard were being withheld.
The propeller powered transport plane, a C-2 Greyhound, carries personnel, mail and other cargo from mainland bases to carriers operating at sea.
The aircraft has been in operation for more than five decades and is due to be replaced by the long-range tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft.
The US 7th Fleet said a search and rescue operation had been launched. “Personnel recovery is underway and their condition will be evaluated by USS Ronald Reagan medical staff,” a statement read.
The Reagan was operating in the Philippine Sea when the crash took place, at about 2.45pm local time.
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 USS John S McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 US sailors dead. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan.