Japanese F-15 fighter crashes off central Japan

Jiji Press
The Air Self-Defense Force’s F-15 fighter jet that disappeared (from the official Twitter of the Air Self-Defense Force’s Komatsu Air Base)

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — An F-15 fighter jet of the Air Self-Defense Force’s Komatsu air base in central Japan is believed to have crashed into the sea during a training flight on Monday due to some problem, the Defense Ministry said.

Soon after taking off from the base, the aircraft disappeared off the radar around 5:30 p.m. at a point over the Sea of Japan about 5 kilometers west-northwest of the base in Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture.

The ASDF, in cooperation with the Japan Coast Guard, searched the area and discovered a section of the aircraft body and a fragment of the pilot’s life-saving equipment, according to the ministry. The ministry concluded that the F-15 jet is likely to have crashed.

The aircraft’s two crew members are unaccounted for.

There is no report of damage to fishing boats, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the F-15 belongs to the Komatsu base’s tactical fighter training group.

Around 5:30 p.m., the Kanazawa Coast Guard Office in Ishikawa received a report that a red light had been seen offshore, according to the 9th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters.

The F-15 is the ASDF’s mainstay fighter jet. The tactical fighter training group, known as the aggressor unit, is staffed by elite pilots and plays the enemy role in training for ASDF units across Japan.

The ASDF’s F-15 fleet has experienced accidents in the past.

In July 2011, an F-15 plane of the Naha air base in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan, crashed during a training flight above the East China Sea, leaving the pilot dead. In September 2008, an F-15 plane of the Tsuiki air base in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, plunged into the Sea of Japan off neighboring Yamaguchi Prefecture, but no one was injured.