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.
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.