Plane crash latest in spate of US Navy accidents in Asia since January

Three people are missing after a US Navy plane crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday. The Navy transport plane was carrying 11 crew and passengers when it went down around 2:45 p.m. Japan Standard Time. CREDIT: Mass Communication… (CNN) — A US Navy plane crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday afternoon, marking at least the sixth apparent accident involving a Navy asset in East Asian waters this year.

The C2-A Greyhound transport plane was carrying 11 crew and passengers to an aircraft carrier when it crashed into the Philippine Sea, the Navy said. As of Wednesday evening, eight people had been rescued, and three were missing.

Wednesday’s crash comes three weeks after a Navy and civilian panel recommended sweeping changes in a comprehensive review of the Japan-based US 7th Fleet, which covers East Asian waters.

The review found that two deadly accidents — the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain with commercial ships in June and August, respectively — were avoidable.

The review’s recommendations include new processes for scheduling ships; “ready for sea” assessments for all Japan-based ships; disseminating lessons learned form “near misses”; and ensuring that ships routinely transmit on their automatic identification systems to prevent collisions.

Of the six incidents, Wednesday’s is the only one directly involving a Navy aircraft. The others are collisions involving US warships.

The following are the details of the six incidents:

C-2A Greyhound aircraft

The Navy says the C2-A Greyhound transport was headed from a Marine Corps base in Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan when it crashed Wednesday in the Philippine Sea, about 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa, Japan.

The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known, the Navy said.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Wednesday that the US military told him that engine trouble might have caused (the crash).”

The aircraft belongs to a Japan-based squadron that generally flies cargo and passengers between shore bases and the Reagan.

USS Benfold On Saturday, a Japanese tugboat lost propulsion and drifted into the USS Benfold in a bay off central Japan, causing minor damage to the guided-missile destroyer, the Navy said.No one was injured. An investigation is underway.The Benfold and the tugboat were participating in a scheduled towing exercise when the accident happened, the Navy said.The Benfold was able to remain at sea; the tugboat was towed by another vessel to a Japanese port. USS John S. McCain The USS John S. McCain, a Navy guided-missile destroyer, collided with the oil tanker Alnic MC about 50 nautical miles east of Singapore on August 21.The collision left 10 US sailors dead. The McCain sustained significant hull damage, with flooding in berthing compartments as well as machinery and communication rooms.Two days after this — which at the time was the year’s fourth collision involving a US warship in East Asian waters — the Navy relieved Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin of his duty as the US 7th Fleet’s commander, citing a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.”Shortly before […]