A Navy plane on its way to the USS Ronald Reagan has crashed, and the early signs are not good

In this Nov. 10, 2017 photo provided by Japan Air Self-Defense Force, two of U.S. F/A-18, and Japan Air Self-Defense Force's F-15 fly over the USS Ronald Reagan head to a joint military exercise at an undisclosed location. The United States and South Korea on Saturday, Nov. 11, started joint naval exercises that will involve three U.S. aircraft carriers in what military officials describe as a clear warning to North Korea. The U.S. carriers will also participate in separate exercises with three Japanese destroyers on Sunday, according to Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force. (Japan Air Self-Defense Force via AP)

The U.S. Navy announced early Wednesday that a plane carrying 11 people that was on its way to the USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

The good news is that 8 people have been rescued and are listed in good condition.

The bad news is that three remain unaccounted for.

The Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet said in a statement that a search and rescue operation was launched from the carrier.

“Personnel recovery is underway and their condition will be evaluated by USS Ronald Reagan medical staff,” the statement said.

The C-2 “Greyhound” aircraft crashed into the Pacific about 150 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, according to a ministry spokesman.

The Navy said the ship was operating in the Philippine Sea, which is east of the Philippines, when the crash occurred at 2:45 p.m. Japan time. The names of the crew and passengers are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, the Navy said.

The plane was taking part in an ongoing joint U.S.-Japan naval exercise in waters surrounding Okinawa from Nov. 16-26. The Navy called it the “premier training event” between the two navies, designed to increase defensive readiness and interoperability in air and sea operations.

The 7th Fleet in June notified families of the seven sailors who drowned after a 29,060-ton container ship called the ACX Crystal collided with the USS Fitzgerald.

The Navy identified the deceased as follows: Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Va.; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, of San Diego, Calif.; Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Conn.; Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas; Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, of Chula Vista, Calif.; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Md; Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio.

Divers found the missing sailors after they were able to gain access to parts of the USS Fitzgerald that were damaged in the collision.

Two months later, the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided, killing 10 U.S. sailors.

The deceased in that incident: Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, Amazonia, Mo.; Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, El Paso; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26,  Gaithersburg, Md.; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, Cable, Ohio; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, Manchester, Md.; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, Suffield, Conn.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, Killeen, Tex.; Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, Decatur, Ill.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class, Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, Cherry Hill, N.J.

The Navy dismissed three-star commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, in August after “los[ing] confidence in his ability to command.”

The prior ship collisions were deemed avoidable, widespread failures by the crews and commanders, who didn’t quickly recognize and respond to unfolding emergencies. A Navy report recommended numerous changes to address the problems, ranging from improved training to increasing sleep and stress management for sailors.

The White House had not, at the time of this writing, reacted to the plane crash.

President Donald Trump was active on Twitter early Wednesday.

Some criticized him for attacking LaVar Ball instead of addressing the USS Ronald Reagan incident.

Eventually, Trump did tweet about the situation, offering prayers for those involved.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/933319309551685633

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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