TOKYO — U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft searched in the Philippine Sea on Thursday for three sailors missing since a U.S. Navy aircraft crashed a day earlier.
Eight people were rescued about 40 minutes after the crash of the C-2A "Greyhound" transport aircraft Wednesday afternoon, the Navy said. They were taken aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and were in good condition.
The Navy said it had notified next of kin that the three missing sailors were "whereabouts unknown" but it would delay releasing their identities publicly for three days due to policy.
The twin-propeller plane came down about 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa as it was bringing passengers and cargo from Japan to the aircraft carrier, the Navy said in a statement. The cause wasn't clear and the crash was being investigated, the Navy said.
The aircraft carrier was leading the search and rescue efforts along with Japan's naval forces. The ships and aircraft had searched more than 320 nautical miles as of Thursday morning, the Navy said.
The Reagan was participating in a joint exercise with Japan's navy when the plane crashed.
"A full search mission is underway," U.S. Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said during a visit to Manama, Bahrain. "The Japanese navy is helping us with many, many assets."
Japan's Defense Ministry said the crash site is about 90 miles northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll.