U.S. fighter jet crashes off Okinawa; pilot ejects safely

HEDO CAPE, Japan, Sept. 22 (UPI) — A U.S. Marine Corps pilot ejected safely Thursday when his fighter jet crashed off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, military officials said.

The pilot ejected seconds after his AV-8 Harrier Jump Jet took off from Kadena U.S. airbase. The plane fell into the Pacific Ocean about 95 miles from Hedo Cape, a local coast guard official said.

Japan’s coast guard rescued at least one person from near the crash site at 2 p.m.

The island of Okinawa is home to about 30,000 U.S. military personnel and their families. Tensions have grown between local residents and the U.S. military on Okinawa, with residents complaining about crime and pollution caused by personnel stationed there.

The United States announced in July it would return some land on the base.

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