• Kyodo

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The U.S. Air Force base in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, on Saturday reported that a diver went missing during operations to salvage an F-16 fighter jet that crashed into the Pacific in early April, local coast guard officials said.

The diver, whose identity was not released, reportedly went missing early Saturday about 2 km off the Pacific coast near the village of Rokkasho, they said. A search has been launched by the Japan Coast Guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The engine and other parts of the jet have already been raised during the salvage operation that began April 21.

Air base officials said Wednesday the salvage operation would finish Saturday before flight training at Amagamori firing range in Misawa resumes Monday.

The F-16 crashed on April 3 during a training flight. The pilot, who was relatively inexperienced, was later rescued by a Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter.

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