Update: The Marine Corps has expanded the search-and-rescue efforts for the missing F/A-18 pilot.

“Search and rescue efforts for the pilot … have expanded to a greater radius and include more rescue assets as the daylight increases,” a Thursday morning statement said.The jet that crashed had been paired with another F/A-18C for the training flight. The second jet remained above the crash site until fuel concerns forced the pilot to leave, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

A US Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter jet has crashed in Southern Japan and the pilot is missing.

Last Updated Dec 7, 2016 8:26 AM EST

One of the Marine Corps’ F/A-18 Hornet jets crashed off Japan Wednesday, military officials tell CBS News, on the 75th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The pilot, who was from the to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Okinawa, ejected from the plane during a regular training mission at about 6:40 p.m. local time, 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni in southern Japan, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

A search-and-rescue operation has been launched, officials said. The cause of the accident and the fate of the pilot are not clear at this time. – CBS News


Below is the complete statement from the III Marine Expeditionary Force:

A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot ejected from his aircraft today at approximately 6:40 p.m. approximately 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni, Japan.

Search and rescue efforts are currently underway.

The aircraft was assigned to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Okinawa, Japan.

The aircraft was conducting regularly scheduled training at the time of the mishap. The cause of the incident is under investigation. There is no further information at this time.

For additional information contact III Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs.

[email protected]

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1st Lt. Joseph Butterfield

Public Affairs Officer, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

DSN: 315-645-3841

Comm: 098-970-3841 (in Japan); +81-98-970-3841 (international)

Military aviation is dangerous business even during non combat operations. This is the sixth USMC F/A-18 to be lost in the last year.

Last month two USMC F/A-18’s based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar collided in mid-air during a routine training mission over the water near San Diego. One of pilots ejected and was successfully recovered by search and rescue while the other landed safely at Naval Air Station North Island.

Earlier in July, Maj. Richard Norton, a pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232 was killed when his F/A-18 crashed during a training flight near Twentynine Palms, CA.

Featured Image Courtesy of III Marine Expeditionary Force