A US F-15E seen taking off. Photo: AFP

A US F-15C Eagle stationed at Japan’s Kadena Air Force Base crashed off the coast of Okinawa on Monday morning, military.com reports, representing the latest in a string of aircraft accidents.

According to the report, Class A mishaps – those involving a fatality, US$2 million or more in damages, or a complete loss of aircraft – have increased nearly 50% so far in 2018 over the previous year.

The lone pilot involved in Monday’s accident “successfully ejected,” officials said in a release. “Search and rescue crews responded and successfully recovered the pilot,” it said. The Air Force has launched an investigation.

Significant maintenance issues regarding F-15s have been on the radar in the US, forcing a portion of the Air National Guard’s fleet to be grounded in March.

The US has reportedly lost six aircraft since the beginning of the year in non-combat training accidents, including several fatalities.

The incident was the second crash involving a US-made aircraft in the region in the span of one week. Last Monday, a Taiwanese pilot perished when his F-16 fighter crashed in the mountains of Taiwan at the start of annual live-fire drills.

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