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Bodies of 2 pilots found after ASDF F-15 fighter crash in Sea of Japan

A Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel conducts a search on the morning of Feb. 1, 2022, following the disappearance of the F-15 fighter over the Sea of Japan in this photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun aircraft. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The bodies of two pilots aboard an Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) F-15 fighter jet that crashed into the Sea of Japan in late January have been found, the ASDF has announced.

    The ASDF identified the pilots as Col. Koji Tanaka, 52, and Capt. Ryusei Ueta, 33, of the Tactical Fighter Training Group at the force's Komatsu Air Base in the Ishikawa Prefecture city of Komatsu, where the aircraft was stationed.

    Their bodies were found during searches by the Maritime Self-Defense Force on Feb. 11 and 13, and their deaths and identities were confirmed by an ASDF doctor. The ASDF did not disclose details on the circumstances in which the bodies were found, on the grounds that it could affect the investigation into the incident.

    The crash occurred on the evening of Jan. 31. The F-15 took off from the base for a training flight, and disappeared from radar over the Sea of Japan about 5 kilometers west-northwest of the base.

    (Japanese original by Yoshitake Matsuura, Tokyo City News Department)

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