US F-15 pilot in 'serious condition' after jet crash near Japan

US fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan - reports

American F-15 fighter jet crashes in the sea off southern Japan

A U.S. Air Force F-15 jet crashed into the sea off southern Japan at 6.40 a.m. local time on Monday (5.40 p.m. EDT, Sunday), shortly after taking off from the U.S Air Force's Kadena Base, Japan.

The condition of the rescued pilot, who ejected, was not immediately known, the sources added.

The plane can be equipped with a number of different air-to-air weapons that included AIM-7F/M Sparrow missiles or AIM-120 AMRAAM advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles.

A series of accidents involving US military aircraft has stoked tensions, and, in January, US Defence Secretary James Mattis apologised to his Japanese counterpart over the incidents.

The F-15 developed technical problems in flight, and the cause of the crash is under investigation, Lt Col David Honchul, the chief spokesman for the USA forces in Japan, told the Independent.

Saturday rain showers and storms linger through the weekend
The weekend features a more typical summer pattern with highs in the upper 80s and only isolated shower/storm chances on Sunday . Temps today will be well below average along the coast this afternoon with the numbers holding in the low to mid 60s.

US Forces Japan confirmed the incident, which happened during a routine training mission.

After Monday's incident, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera once again called on the US military to ensure the safety of its aircraft and prevent future occurrences. About half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed on the southern island. "Accidents involving U.S. military aircraft are occurring repeatedly".

Many residents of Okinawa associate the US military bases with crime, accidents and pollution and want them moved off the island. "We will continue asking them to ensure safety", he said. "If that happens, we can not fulfill our responsibilities to our children and grandchildren". The last F-15 based out of Kadena to crash was in 2006.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga also criticized the Japanese government, noting that a number of troubles with USA military aircraft have been reported over the past year.

"Local elementary schools and junior high schools have been conducting drills on scenarios that an aircraft has crashed, but you never know when they will become reality", said a 57-year-old resident of Kadena, Yoshihiro Fukuchi.

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