News Plane Crashes — 22 November 2017

Photo: In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, A C-2A Greyhound from Fleet Logistics Squadron (VRC) 30 taxis on the runway after sailors from loaded it with meat, bread and plastic dinnerware November 9, 2010 at Naval Base Coronado in Sand Diego, California transferring the supplies to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. A C-2 Greyhound carrying 11 people crashed near Japan on November 22, 2017.

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

The Navy says eight people have been rescued and are “in good condition” after a propeller-driven C-2 Greyhound carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed in the Philippine Sea southeast of Okinawa, Japan.

“Search and rescue” for the remaining three people is still underway, the Navy says.

In a statement, the U.S. 7th Fleet said the C-2, a twin-engine airplane used to ferry personnel to and from aircraft carriers, went down about 2:45 p.m. Japan time (12:45 a.m. ET) while it was en route to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN76), which is operating in the region.

By 3:23 p.m. local time, eight people were recovered. “All personnel were transferred to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for medical evaluation and are in good condition at this time,” the Navy says.

The incident will be investigated. The cause of the crash is not yet known, an earlier statement said.

The names of crew and passengers were being withheld pending notification of next of kin, the Navy says, without any further explanation.

Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force is assisting with search and rescue efforts for the three missing personnel.

The Associated Press adds background:

“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 U.S. sailors dead. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan.”
The Navy provides more details on the aircraft that crashed:

“The aircraft was conducting a routine transport flight carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). …
“The C2-A is assigned to the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Three Zero, Detachment Five, forward deployed in NAF Atsugi, Japan. Detachment Five’s mission includes the transport of high-priority cargo, mail, duty passengers and Distinguished Visitors between USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and shore bases throughout the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia theaters.”

A U.S. Navy airplane has crashed in the Philippine Sea near the coast of Okinawa, Japan, the Pacific 7th Fleet command said in a statement on Wednesday.

The airplane was carrying 11 people and heading towards the USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy’s aircraft supercarrier and the largest warship deployed to the Pacific.

The incident occurred around 2.45pm local time (00:45am EST). The names of the crew and passengers on board of the cargo plane are currently being withheld.

“USS Ronald Reagan is conducting search and rescue operations. The cause of the crash is not known at this time,” the statement read.

Eight people have been rescued so far, Japanese defense minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters, quoted in the Japan Times.

He also said the U.S. Navy had informed him that the crash may have resulted from engine trouble, Reuters reported.

The White House and President Donald Trump have yet to comment.

The C-2 Greyhound plane delivers mail, personnel, and other supplies from mainland bases to aircraft carriers at sea and was first deployed in the 1960s. The Navy decided in 2015 to buy long-range tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft to replace the aging carriers.

The crash is the latest in a series of incidents this year involving the 7th fleet, the largest of the Navy’s forward deployed fleets comprising between 50-70 ships, 140 aircrafts and 20,000 sailors.

The fleet lost two of its main destroyers in separate incidents earlier this year. The USS John S. McCain collision near Singapore in August resulted in the death of 10 servicemen, while seven sailors died in the USS Fitzgerald accident near the coast of Japan in June. The USS Stethem lost a soldier at sea in early August.

Fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin was subsequently dismissed from his role a few weeks before his planned retirement and Vice Admiral Philip Sawyer was appointed instead.

He removed four other officials from the chain of command: Task Force 70 commander Rear Admiral Charles Williams and Destroyer Squadron 15 commander Captain Jeffrey Bennett in September, and the commanding officer and executive officer of USS John S. McCain in October after an investigation found the crash was “preventable.”

The U.S. military is also under fire in Japan after a Japanese citizen was killed in a car crash reportedly caused by a drunk-driving Marine.

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