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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A U.S. Navy airman is lost at sea and presumed dead after a four-day search failed to locate him in waters off Japan’s east coast, a Navy news release stated Wednesday.

The large-scale hunt for Airman Jason J. Doyle, 19, was halted late Tuesday evening after it “exceeded any reasonable expectation he would be found,” the U.S. 7th Fleet release stated.

Doyle, who worked on the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk, fell overboard about 5 p.m. Saturday during routine flight operations in the Philippine Sea. He was assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 136’s line division, which maintains and inspects aircraft on the carrier.

He was wearing the “float coat” and cranial helmet required for work on the flight deck, but witnesses lost sight of Doyle after he fell approximately 60 feet to the water, a Navy spokesman said. An investigation was launched into the circumstances surrounding his fall.

The Navy termed the search “extensive” — it covered more than 2,400 square miles and lasted about 80 hours. Six U.S. Navy ships — Kitty Hawk, USS Cowpens, USS Russell, USS Lassen, USNS Tippecanoe and USNS Flint — and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s JDS Hatakaze searched for Doyle with assistance from ship- and shore-based aircraft.

Doyle, born in Leyton, Utah, later lived in Omaha, Neb. A memorial service will be held aboard the Kitty Hawk, the release stated.


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