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Japanese fighter plane crashes in Sea of Japan, two pilots rescued

By Ed Adamczyk
Japanese fighter plane crashes in Sea of Japan, two pilots rescued
A Mitsubishi F2-B fighter plane of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force crashed into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday. Its two pilots were rescued safely. Photo courtesy of Japan Air Self-Defense Force

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Two pilots aboard a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force fighter plane were rescued Wednesday after their aircraft crashed into the Sea of Japan.

The Mitsubishi F2-B fighter plane, based at Tsuiki Air Force Base in Fukuoka prefecture, disappeared from radar on Wednesday morning, minutes after a distress signal was activated. Its last confirmed location was about 80 miles from the base. A helicopter crew located the pilots in the water near Yamaguchi prefecture and rescued them within an hour of their plane's disappearance.

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The aircraft left the base on Wednesday with two other fighter planes for air-to-air combat exercises.

The Air Self-Defense Force halted all flights and grounded all F2-B planes for inspection after the incident. The plane is a variant of Lockheed Martin's F-16.

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