The search for a Marine jet pilot who ejected off the coast of southern Japan expanded early Thursday morning.
The unnamed aviator ejected from the F/A-18 C+ Hornet strike fighter around 6:40 p.m. on Wednesday about 120 miles southeast of the Iwakuni Marine Corps air station during what Pentagon officials say was regularly scheduled training.
Rescue crews from the American military and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Coast Guard combed the Pacific Ocean throughout the night. They expanded their efforts to a wider area after the sun rose.
The pilot is assigned to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based on the island of Okinawa.
The Japan Broadcasting Corp. has reported that Tokyo’s Ministry of Defense requested American military officials to probe the cause of the mishap, which occurred within Japanese airspace.
The Japanese report also pointed to the Sept. 22 crash of a Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier Jump Jet off the coast of Okinawa. That pilot was rescued.