US Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes into Pacific; 8 rescued

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan Mc Cord | U.S. Navy | Getty Images

A major rescue operation is now under way after the aircraft came down southeast of Okinawa.

US and Japanese search crews are now looking for the remaining missing individuals, while eight people have been rescued and are reportedly in "good condition".

The propeller-powered transport plane, a C-2 Greyhound, carries personnel, mail and other cargo from mainland bases to carriers operating at sea.

The cause of the crash was unclear, as was whether any of those aboard the aircraft had survived.

The aircraft was en-route to the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), which is now operating in the Philippine Sea.

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Adding to a dour year for U.S. naval aviation safety, three sailors are missing after a Grumman C-2A Greyhound crashed in the Philippine Sea on 22 November while on a routine transport flight. Japan's Defence Ministry said the crash site is about 150km northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll.

According to a statement from the Navy, the names of the crew and passengers who were onboard are being withheld pending the notification of their next of kin. "Prayers for all involved".

Japanese Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera told reporters the US Navy had informed him that the crash in the Philippine Sea may have been a result of engine trouble.

The USS John S McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 US sailors dead.

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