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US Navy aircraft carrying 11 passengers crashes into sea near Japan

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US Navy aircraft carrying 11 passengers crashes into sea near Japan

The Associated Press
FILE – In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is escorted into Busan port, South Korea, after completing a joint drill with the South Korean military. The United States and South Korea on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, started joint naval exercises that will involve three U.S. aircraft carriers in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea. The four-day drills that began in waters off South Korea's eastern coast come as President Donald Trump continues a visit to Asia that has been dominated by discussions over the North Korean nuclear threat. (Jo Jung-ho/Yonhap via AP, File)

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.

The crash, which took place 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. Conditions of the 11 passengers is not known.

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 also unknown.

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.

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