An Air Force F-15C pilot is in serious condition after ejecting from a fighter which crashed off Okinawa, Japan, on Monday, officials said.
- The F-15 from the 18th Wing’s 44th Fighter Squadron was on a training mission when it went down about 6:26 a.m. Monday local time, according to the 18th Wing.
- The pilot, who was the only airman aboard the plane at the time, was rescued by Japanese Air-Self Defense Forces based in Naha, Okinawa, and taken to the U.S. Naval Hospital on Camp Foster for treatment, 18th Wing announced in a news release.
- “I would like to personally thank the Naha Rescue Squadron for their quick response this morning, which led to the safe recovery of our airman,” Col. Richard Tanner, 18th Wing vice commander, said in the news release. “I sincerely appreciate the strong support of our Japanese partners in this difficult situation.”
- Kadena Air Base in Okinawa was suspended local F-15 training whole the 18th Wing reviews its operational, maintenance, and safety procedures, according to the news release.
- The cause of the crash is currently unclear. A board of officers will investigate what happened.
- The 18th Wing is home to the 44th Fighter Squadron "Vampire Bats" (F-15C/D) and 67th Fighter Squadron "Fighting Cocks" (F-15C/D). It's currently unclear to which squadron the aircraft belonged.
It's worth noting that despite the safe recovery of the pilot, the incident marks yet another aviation mishap for the U.S. armed forces:
UPDATE: This story was updated on June 11 with the F-15C pilot's medical condition.