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Two jets from Carrier Air Wing Five of the Kitty Hawk Battle Group, which were involved in training flights over the ocean Thursday, dropped parts not recovered as of Monday afternoon, a Navy spokesman said.

No damages or injuries had been reported on the ground, said Lt. Cmdr. John Bernard, spokesman for the 7th Fleet battle group.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet from Fixed Wing Fighter Attack Squadron 102 dropped a piece of composite metal from a dummy training missile’s fin that was about 8 square inches, Bernard said.

An EA-6B Prowler from Electronic Warfare Squadron 136 dropped a boarding ladder weighing about 12 pounds, Bernard added; it was 52 inches long, 12 inches wide and 8 inches deep.

“Each aircraft was on an approximately two-hour flight and spent all but about 15 minutes, when taking off and landing, over the water,” he said. “They trained about 100 nautical miles (about 115 miles) from the shore.”

Bernard said an investigation has been initiated.

Once the aircraft returned to Naval Air Facility Atsugi and pilots noticed the missing parts, the Japanese government was notified, said a Defense Facilities Administration Yokohama Bureau spokesman.

“We were informed by the U.S. military that two parts — a boarding ladder and a fin from drill ammunition — fell off the aircraft during a routine training flight Thursday at an unknown time. We understand that the jets did not make any stops on the way,” said Yoshio Tateishi, deputy chief spokesman.

“Possibilities are high that the two parts fell into sea,” he added.

The agency filed a request Friday with the Atsugi commander urging the military to ensure safety, he said, and called for a “thorough investigation to determine the cause and to ensure complete maintenance and safe management of aircraft.”

The Kanagawa Prefectural Government also plans to file a protest over the event, said a prefecture official.


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