Japanese ASDF released a statement regarding the missing crew members after their F-15 crashed into the sea about two weeks ago at the end of January. They have discovered the bodies of two crew pilots that went missing during the crash.
One body was found on Friday, and the second one was found on Sunday close to the crash site, about 5 kilometers to the west and northwest of the Komatsu Air Base in Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan, according to ASDF.
The bodies were identified as the 33-year-old captain Ryusei Ueta and ASDF Colonel Koji Takana.
After Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force divers discovered these bodies, MSDF ships carried them in separate vessels from the site.
Coasts guard joined the search and rescue mission with the ASDF on the last day of the January near the crash site, which took place shortly after takeoff, around 5:45 p.m., when the plane was headed to training with three other fighter aircraft.
The pilots were part of the group of tactical fighters located at the base, which was where Tanaka was the group’s highest commander. They were on a two-seater plane with Tanaka at the front and Ueta at the rear.
They were thought to be highly skilled since the group’s mission was to train fighter units in flying techniques and play the role of potential enemies.
“The loss of outstanding pilots is extremely saddening,” said Gen. Shunji Izutsu, chief of staff for the ASDF, in an official statement. “We will investigate the cause of the incident and prevent similar incidents from happening.”
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