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US Navy aircraft carrying 11 passengers crashes into sea near Japan, 8 rescued

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US Navy aircraft carrying 11 passengers crashes into sea near Japan, 8 rescued

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WATCH US Navy aircraft crashes into sea near Japan

A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 passengers and crew crashed into the Philippine Sea on Wednesday on its return to the USS Ronald Reagan, according to the Navy's 7th Fleet. Eight of the 11 have been rescued and are in good condition, the Navy said.

Search and rescue efforts continue for the other three people on board the aircraft when it went down.

The crash, which took place about 500 nautical miles (575 miles) southeast of Okinawa, Japan, happened at 2:45 p.m. local time, which is 12:45 a.m. ET.

The USS Ronald Reagan is conducting search and rescue operations, the Navy said.

A @USNavy aircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa while en-route to the Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). #USSRonaldReagan is conducting search and rescue operations. https://t.co/ZJqpxyYqcR

— 7th Fleet (@US7thFleet) November 22, 2017

The cause of the crash is unknown.

The Navy said the C2-A aircraft was conducting "a routine transport flight carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to USS Ronald Reagan."

The USS Ronald Reagan is currently operating in the Philippine Sea. The ship was taking part in Annual Exercise 2017 (AE17), a bilateral field-training exercise with the Japanese Navy conducted in waters off Japan from Nov. 16 to 26.

It is one of three carriers currently operating in the area, along with the USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt. They took part in a military exercise a little over a week ago as a show of strength toward North Korea.

US conducts military exercises amid tensions with N. Korea US warship collides with Japanese tug boat, latest mishap for the Navy's 7th Fleet

The accident is the latest in a series of disasters in 2017 for the 7th Fleet, which is stationed in Japan. In January, the USS Antietam ran aground off the coast of Japan, damaging its propellers and spilling oil into the water. The USS Lake Champlain collided with South Korean fishing boat on May 9.

Seven U.S. sailors were killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship in the middle of the night off the coast of Yokosuuka on June 17.

And the deadliest accident came on Aug. 21, when 10 U.S. sailors were killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with commercial vessel Alnic MC in waters east of Singapore, according to the Navy.

The commander of the 7th Fleet was removed of his command in late August following the USS John S. McCain accident. Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was relieved of duty due to a "loss of confidence in his ability to command," according to the Navy.

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