A U.S. Marine pilot who ejected from an F/A-18 fighter jet off the eastern coast of Japan has been confirmed dead after being recovered earlier on Thursday by a Japanese naval vessel, military officials said.
The Marine Corps identified Captain Jake Frederick as the pilot who ejected from his F/A-18C+ fighter aircraft after it went down 120 miles off the coast of Iwakuni, Japan.
The Japanese Defense Ministry had announced earlier in the day that a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ship had recovered Frederick.
“He is pronounced deceased,” Marine Corps said in a statement today. “We will provide more releasable information after the 24-hour window. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the pilot. The cause of the crash is still unknown.”
A timeline posted on the Japanese ministry’s website indicated that the missing pilot was spotted at 1:05 a.m. ET by the 71st Air Division and rescued five minutes later.
Frederick was taken to the base at Iwakuni, Japan, officials said, but no details of the pilot’s condition were provided.
Initial efforts to locate Frederick on Wednesday proved unsuccessful leading U.S. and Japanese officials to broaden the search radius and increase the number of search assets.
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SOURCE: ABC News, Luis Martinez, Anthony Trotter and Elizabeth McLaughlin