A pilot of the Marines US ejected safely when his warplane crashed into the waters of the Japanese island of Okinawa, officials said.
The fighter plane a Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier Jump Jet, left Kadena Air Base United States and 153 kilometers (95 miles) from Cape Hedo crashed, according to an official of the local coastguard.
The guard deployed rescue teams Japanese coast at 2 p.m. local time (1:00 a.m. ET) and received a report two hours after at least one person has been removed from the crash site.
The pilot ejected and was rescued by a team from the US Air Force, said the Navy Expeditionary Force said in a statement.
“The cause of the incident is under investigation,” the statement added.
The flight was a training mission routine, said Eric Flanagan, a spokesman for the Third Marine Expeditionary Force. The pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft.
“From the perspective of the Marine Corps of the United States, the most important part is that the pilot ejected successfully and is now safe in the back cover in Okinawa,” he added.
In the US Army, the Harrier jet, which is capable of vertical takeoff and landing, is mainly used by the Marines. The plane went into production in early 1980 and continued to be made until 2003. It is scheduled to remain in service until 2025.
In September 2014, an AV-8B fire near one of its tires after an emergency landing at Kadena Air Base. The pilot walked away.
Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, is home to a large military presence of the United States. The US bases are a source of tension with residents of the island, largely because of its cost and security concerns.
In June, tens of thousands of Okinawans took to the streets of the capital of the prefecture, Naha, demanding an end to the country’s presence on the island following the murder of a local woman.