A United States F-15 fighter jet that disappeared off the radar around 70 miles off the coast of Okinawa, Japan on Tuesday morning apparently crashed into the ocean. The pilot of the jet was spotted and rescued after search and rescue teams from the United States and Japanese air forces set off from the Kadena Air Base to the area where the jet was last seen. The pilot had ejected safely from the plane when it became obvious it was going down.
The downed pilot, who was found floating in an inflatable life raft near the site of the crash, was able to talk to the rescuers during the entire rescue operation.
A helicopter from the Japanese Air Force, which was one of the first units on the scene, was soon able to get a winch down to the pilot and hoist him on board. He was then taken to a military hospital where doctors say he is in stable condition. Neither the pilot’s name nor information about any injuries he may have sustained have been released.
As of now, the U.S. military says they do not know what caused the F-15 jet to crash but that an investigation of the incident is currently underway.
This is the third time an American military jet has crashed in waters off Okinawa in the last 11 years. The last military jet to crash was in 2006 when an F-15C fighter plane also crashed into the ocean. The pilot ejected into the ocean safely that time also and was picked up shortly afterward.