AirAsia Pacific

Japan Finds Piece of Missing F-15, Searching for Crew

Japanese aircraft and boats were searching Tuesday for two crew from a fighter jet that is believed to have crashed after taking off a day earlier, a government spokesman said.

Part of the F-15 jet has been found, but authorities are still searching for the two people on board, top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

The jet, which was on a training mission, disappeared from radar shortly after it took off late Monday afternoon, Matsuno said.

It disappeared about five kilometers (three miles) west-northwest of the Komatsu airbase in the central Ishikawa region, off the Sea of Japan.

“As part of the fuselage of the fighter jet was discovered in the area, the fighter jet is believed to have crashed,” Matsuno said.

The spokesman said “all efforts” were being made to locate the missing crew members, with Self-Defense Force aircraft and vessels, as well as coastguard patrol boats, searching the area.

No explanation for the crash has been given so far, and the defense ministry has not sought to ground F-15s in the wake of the incident.

Japan has occasionally seen accidents involving its airforce, including in 2019 when an F-35A stealth jet crashed into the sea after the pilot suffered spatial disorientation.

The crash sparked a scramble to recover the pilot and secrets onboard the plane.

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