American F-15 fighter jet crashes in the sea off southern Japan

American F-15 fighter jet crashes in the sea off southern Japan

A US F-15 fighter jet crashed into the sea off Okinawa on Monday morning, with the pilot picked up by a search-and-rescue crew from Japan's Air Self-Defense Force, the U.S. military and local defence bureau said.

A helicopter of Japan's Self-Defense Forces rescued the pilot, who had ejected before his aircraft crashed in the sea about 120 kilometers south of the prefectural capital of Naha.

Reports say the pilot was taken by helicopter to a nearby U.S. naval hospital.

A U.S. F-15 fighter jet, the same type that crashed into the sea south of Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, on June 11, 2018.

The base is the US's main hub of airpower in the Pacific, according to its website.

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The U.S. has a heavy military presence in Okinawa that has been the source of friction with the local government and some residents.

After two helicopters made emergency landings in Japan at the beginning of 2018, Defense Secretary James Mattis called to apologize for a series of USA aerial accidents.

It is the 12th United States military aircraft crash so far this year.

"I want to firmly demand safe flights", he said adding that he has asked the USA military to implement safety management thoroughly and take measures to prevent a recurrence. "Your quick response proves once again how valuable an asset you are to the U.S./Japanese alliance", Kadena Air Base, where around 47,000 American troops are based, said in a statement on Twitter. "I will ask for detailed reports about why it happened".

The lone pilot involved in Monday's accident "successfully ejected", officials said in a release. "We will continue asking them to ensure safety", he said.

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