published Monday, May 27th, 2013

U.S. F-15 fighter crashes in Pacific off Okinawa; pilot ejects safely

TOKYO — A U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter crashed off the southern Japan island of Okinawa early Tuesday after the aircraft developed problems in flight. The pilot ejected and was recovered safely.

The F-15, flying out of Kadena Air Base, went down in the Pacific about 115 kilometers (70 miles) east of Okinawa, the military said in a statement.

Lt. Col. David Honchul, the chief spokesman for the U.S. Forces, Japan, said the pilot was recovered safely after a search by U.S. and Japanese rescue crews. After he ejected from the plane the pilot remained in contact with the rescuers.

The cause was under investigation. The pilot’s name has not been released.

The U.S. military has about 50,000 troops based in Japan, about half of them on Okinawa. Kadena Air Base is one of the largest U.S. airbases in the Asia-Pacific region. The F-15 was attached to Kadena’s 18th Wing.

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