Eight of the people on board have been found and are in good condition, according to the Navy.
At approximately 2:45 p.m. Japan Standard Time, Nov. 22, 2017, the C2-A aircraft with 11 crew and passengers onboard crashed into the ocean approximately 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa. The ships and aircraft had searched more than 320 nautical miles (590 kilometers) as of Thursday morning, the Navy said.
The navy said it had notified next of kin that the three sailors were "whereabouts unknown" but that it would delay releasing their identities publicly for three days due to policy.
"Our entire focus is on finding all of our Sailors", said Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton, Commander, Task Force 70.
The aircraft carrier was leading the search and rescue efforts along with Japan's naval forces.
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The Reagan was participating in a joint exercise with Japan's navy when the plane crashed. The cause wasn't clear and the crash was being investigated, the Navy said. "USA and Japanese ships and aircraft are searching the area of the crash, and we will be relentless in our efforts". Itsunori Onodera, the Defense Minister of Japan said that, "I have been informed from the United States military that engine trouble may have caused (the crash)". "Prayers for all involved", Trump wrote in a Twitter post.
Four other USA ships in the US 7th Fleet have been involved in collisions in Asian waters since January, including two that resulted in fatalities. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan.
In a separate incident in August, 10 sailors were killed when the guided missile destroyer John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker.
The Navy has concluded that the collisions were avoidable and resulted from widespread failures by the crews and commanders, who didn't quickly recognize and respond to unfolding emergencies.
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