The U.S. Navy is investigating an accident where a transport plane carrying 11 people crashed in the Philippine Sea south of Japan on Wednesday as it flew to the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan with three of the people missing.

“Search and rescue efforts for three personnel continue with U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships and aircraft on scene,” the U.S. Seventh Fleet said in a news release.

“The incident will be investigated,” it added.

The plane was conducting a routine transport flight carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to the carrier, which was operating in the Philippine Sea as part of an exercise with Japanese forces, it said.

U.S. President Donald Trump was briefed on the crash at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida, where he is spending the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.

Japanese Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera told reporters the U.S. Navy informed him that the crash may have been a result of engine trouble.

The Navy rescued the other eight personnel, and they were transported back to the carrier and all are reported to be in good condition.

The propeller-driven C-2 Greyhound aircraft has been a mainstay for the Navy for five decades. It has been used to shuttle personnel and cargo between aircraft carriers and land bases. It is gradually being phased out of service, being replaced on the carriers by the tilt-rotor C-22 Osprey aircraft.

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Photo courtesy US Navy