USMC pilot missing after ejecting from F/A-18 over Japan

A USA military F/A-18 fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off western Japan on Wednesday, and the condition of the pilot is unclear yet, local media reported, quoting Japanese Defense Ministry officials. A search is underway for the pilot.

'Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the pilot. The status of the pilot's condition is unknown.

The crashed plane is assigned to the US Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, one of the main US military bases in Japan, which hosts tens of thousands of US military personnel.

This was the 9th crash involving F/A-18 variants over the past six months (including a Canadian CF-18lost in late November), further baffling American military officials who have yet to offer an explanation for the aircraft's high crash rate.

It is the fourth Marine Corps F/A-18 to crash since July.

The pilot ejected approximately 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni at about 6:40 p.m. local time.

"The bilateral search and rescue efforts continued through the night with the USA military working closely with" Japan's Self-Defense Forces, it added.

Three Japanese ships and multiple Japanese fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft also assisted in the search, officials said.

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