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Search ends for three sailors missing after US Navy plane crash

The search has ended for three sailors missing in the Philippine Sea since a US Navy aircraft crashed on Wednesday, the navy has said.

The C-2A "Greyhound" transport aircraft was travelling to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier when the incident happened.

Eight people were rescued quickly and are in good condition, but Japanese and US ships and aircraft had continued searching for the others.

The navy's 7th Fleet said details of the three missing sailors were being withheld pending completion of notification of next of kin procedures.

The navy is investigating the crash.

The twin-propeller plane crashed about 500 nautical miles southeast of the Japanese island of Okinawa while bringing passengers and cargo from Japan to the aircraft carrier.

The Reagan was participating in a joint exercise with Japan's navy when the plane crashed. It was leading the search and rescue efforts along with Japan's naval forces.

The 7th Fleet has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the removal of eight top navy officers from their posts, including the 7th Fleet commander.

The USS John S McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 US sailors dead. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan.

The navy has concluded that the collisions were avoidable and resulted from widespread failures by the crews and commanders, who did not quickly recognise and respond to unfolding emergencies.

A navy report recommended numerous changes to address the problems, ranging from improved training to increasing sleep and stress management for sailors.

AP

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