This is a developing story and will be continued to be updated.
UPDATE 12/9 1:00 P.M. EST: The Marine Corps has released a statement that the pilot ejected from the crashed F/A- 18 has been found dead. The deceased pilot has been identified as 32-year-old James E. Frederick of Corpus Christi, Texas.
UPDATE 12/8 9:00 A.M. EST: The Marine Corps released a statement that they were increasing their search efforts for the downed pilot.
“Search and rescue efforts for the pilot who ejected from a Marine F/A-18 December 7 have expanded to a greater radius and include more rescue assets as the daylight increases.
The bilateral search and rescue efforts continued through the night with the U.S. military working closely with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force.”
UPDATE 12/7 9:25 A.M. EST: The Marine Corps released a statement stating that search and rescue efforts are currently underway to find the downed pilot.
“A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot ejected from his aircraft today at approximately 6:40 p.m. approximately 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni, Japan.
Search and rescue efforts are currently underway.
The aircraft was assigned to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Okinawa, Japan.
The aircraft was conducting regularly scheduled training at the time of the mishap. The cause of the incident is under investigation. There is no further information at this time.”
12/7 9:05 A.M. EST:
Reports surfacing Wednesday morning say a U.S. Marine fighter jet crashed near southwestern Japan. The NHK reported that Japan’s Defense Ministry said a US F F/A-18 Hornet military jet that was stationed near Iwakuni base in the Yamaguchi prefecture went down around 6:00 P.M. local time. The pilot ejected and is said to have survived.
The Iwakuni Air Station is home to around 5,000 troops and is used for Marine pilot training.