Japanese F-35 jet crashes into the Pacific

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 10, 2019 - Duration: 01:20s

Japanese F-35 jet crashes into the Pacific

Search and rescue teams found wreckage from a Japanese F-35 stealth fighter that crashed over the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan, but the pilot remains missing, authorities said on Wednesday.

Japanese F-35 jet crashes into the Pacific

A Japanese F-35 fighter jet has crashed into the Pacific Ocean and on Wednesday (April 10) rescuers had not yet located the pilot.

The aircraft was less than one year old and the first of its kind to be assembled in Japan.

It's only the second F-35 to crash in the two decades its been flying.

A defense official said the jet was only in the air for 28 minutes on Tuesday before it disappeared.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE DEFENSE MINISTER, TAKESHI IWAYA, SAYING: "The missing pilot signaled a need to abort the mission, and shortly after that, communication was lost and then radar contact was lost." Japan has a total of 13 F-35s including the one that crashed.

However, an Air Self Defense Force official told Reuters this was the first to be assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

They also said the pilot had 3,200 hours of flight time, 60 of them on this particular plane.

The area where the plane went down was in waters that reach a depth of around 1,500 meters, making recovery hard.

Japan's first squadron of F-35s has just become operational at Misawa Air Base and Tokyo plans to buy 87 of the stealth fighter to refresh its air defenses in the face of China's rising military might.

A different variant of the F-35 crashed in September in South Carolina, prompting a temporary grounding of the aircraft.

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