PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, July 23 (RIA Novosti)
A U.S. F-16 Falcon fighter crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Russia’s Kuril Islands on Sunday, a spokesman for the Russian Border Guard Service in the Far East said.
“The Kamchatsky territorial naval rescue center reported at 8:30 p.m. local time [8:30 a.m. GMT] that an aircraft was in distress over the Pacific Ocean near the northern Kurils,” the spokesman said.
It turned out later, he said, that the aircraft was a U.S. Air Force F-16 Falcon fighter.
“The pilot ejected before the crash and was later rescued by a Japanese vessel, the Hokko Maru,” he added.
The pilot was later handed over to a United States merchant vessel on Monday and is in a stable condition, the US Navy said on its website.
F-16.net website reported that the jet belonged to the 35th Fighter Wing and was en route from Misawa air base in Japan to Alaska, when it crashed some 200 miles northeast of Japan’s Hokkaido.
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Earlier this month, Russia hosted the Fourth International Meeting of the Arctic Council at Naryan-Mar, a seaport in the Barents Sea, to discuss issues relating to the infrastructure and safety of ships passing through the Northern Sea Route (NSR).