ARCHIVE – In this file photo of March 14, 2017, a C-2 Greyhound of the US Navy. UU It approaches the Nimitz USS Carl Vinson clbad carrier bridge during the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States at an unidentified location in international waters, east of the Korean peninsula. A similar type of the US Navy aircraft carrying 11 crew and pbadengers crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, November 22, 2017, while on its way to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said. (Lee Jin-man, File / Associated Press)
By Associated Press By Associated Press November 22 at 10:56 PM
TOKYO – US Ships and Planes and Japanese were searching the Philippine Sea on Thursday for three sailors missing since a US Navy plane crashed the previous day.
Eight people were rescued about 40 minutes after the crash of the C-2 transport plane "Greyhound" on Wednesday afternoon. They were taken aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and they were in good condition.
The double-propeller C-2A aircraft dropped to about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) southeast of Okinawa, as it brought pbadengers and cargo from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said in a statement. The cause was not clear but the accident would be investigated, the Navy said.
Reagan was participating in a joint exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force when the plane crashed.
The aircraft carrier was leading the search and rescue efforts along with the naval forces of Japan. Ships and planes had searched more than 320 nautical miles as of Thursday morning, the Navy said.
The Ministry of Defense of Japan said that the site of the accident is about 150 kilometers northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll.
The Navy said it had notified its relatives that the three sailors were "unaccounted for" but would delay the publication of their identities publicly for three days because of the policy.
In Washington, the White House said that President Donald Trump had been informed about the crash. Trump said in a tweet: "We are monitoring the situation … Prayers for all involved."
The joint exercise from November 16 to 26 in Okinawa waters has been described by the Navy as the "main training event" between US and Japanese navies, designed to increase defensive readiness and interoperability in air and maritime operations.
The Seventh Fleet of the Navy based in Japan has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year, leaving 17 sailors dead and causing the removal of eight senior Navy officers from their posts, including the commander of the 7th Fleet .  The USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 American sailors dead. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided with Japan.
The Navy has concluded that the collisions were avoidable and were the result of widespread failures by crews and commanders, who did not quickly recognize and respond to the emergency deployment. A Navy report recommended numerous changes to address problems, ranging from improved training to sleep management and stress for sailors.
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