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F-15 goes down off Okinawa; pilot rescued at sea

In this file photo, an F-15 Eagle taxis prior to a training sortie Feb. 22, 2012. The 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, deployed from Kadena Air Base, Japan, flies with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. Their mission is both deterrence as part of the defense of the Persian Gulf, and training with partners in the region.

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa -- A U.S. Air Force pilot was rescued Tuesday after an F-15 aircraft from Kadena Air Base went down in the waters around Okinawa, the Japan Coast Guard said.

A Japanese military search-and-rescue team recovered the pilot around 10 a.m., about an hour after he ejected safely, according to information from the coast guard and the Air Force. He was in stable condition at a U.S. military medical facility.

The F-15 developed an unspecified problem leading to the pilot’s ejection, then went down in the Pacific Ocean about 70 miles northeast of Okinawa, the Kadena Air Base public affairs office said.

The military did not identify the pilot of the F-15C, which is a single-seat aircraft. The Air Force said the incident will be investigated and more details will be released as they become available.

It was the fifth reported incident involving U.S. F-15s on Okinawa since one of the jets crashed into the ocean in 2002. Two F-15s collided in flight in 2004, and an airman pilot was also rescued at sea in 2006 after his Kadena-based jet went down in the Pacific northeast of the island.

A Japanese military pilot went missing after his Air Self-Defense Force F-15 crashed in the ocean off Okinawa in 2011.

tritten.travis@stripes.com
sumida.chiyomi@stripes.com

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