US F-15 Crashes off Okinawa; Pilot Safe

Clay Curtis
June 11, 2018

The pilot, who was alone on board, was reportedly rescued with non life-threatening injuries following the crash, which took place around 6.30am on Monday morning. "Our hearts and prayers go to the pilot and his family as they go through this hard time", Kadena airbase wrote on their Twitter account.

According to Reuters, US military spokespersons confirmed the crash of an F-15C Eagle off the Okinawa coast during a routine training mission, adding that there was only one person in the aircraft that successfully ejected and had been safely recovered. "I sincerely appreciate the strong support of our Japanese partners in this hard situation".

As of 8.50am local time (12.50am on Sunday GMT) the Kadena Air Base tweeted to confirm the crash.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, "U.S. military aircraft accidents keep happening again and again", the Asahi Shimbun reported.

After Monday's incident, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera once again called on the US military to ensure the safety of its aircraft and prevent future occurrences. "We will continue asking them to ensure safety", he said.

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Okinawa government officials asked the US military to suspend F-15 flights until their safety could be confirmed, Kyodo reported.

"We can not fulfil our responsibilities to our children and their children if such a situation becomes the norm", Okinawa governor Takeshi Onaga said.

The U.S. Air Force is also considering replacing the F-15s, worth around $36 million each, with F-16 fighting falcons by 2020.

F-15 fighter jets are twin-engined tactical fighters that were initially envisioned as a pure air superiority vehicle. Okinawa houses a controversial American military presence, which has been the subject of numerous protests.

The accident, which is now under investigation, is the latest in a string of mishaps involving USA aircraft in southern Okinawa.

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