U.S. pilot whose aircraft alighted in Pacific will be handed over to U.S. patrol boat

The U.S. pilot who ejected from a U.S. Air Force F-16 multirole jet fighter will be picked up by a U.S. patrol vessel, Interfax was told at the Sakhalin coast guard department of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

"The crew of the Japanese Hokuo Maru ship will hand over the pilot to a U.S. patrol vessel in the Pacific Ocean," a coast guard spokesman said.

He said the incident occurred in the economic zone of Russia off the coast of the Middle Kuril islands where the U.S. fighter on a flight from Japan to Alaska alighted. According to the coast guard, there was only one person aboard - the pilot who ejected.

"Immediately after the incident the Japanese side launched a search for the pilot who was discovered within five hours safe and sound," the spokesman said.

Earlier reports said that information about the emergency aboard the aircraft was received by the maritime rescue center for Kamchatka territory at about 8:30 p.m. local time on Sunday. Later the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency sent a report that a plane on a flight from Japan to Alaska had alighted there.

The pilot was rescued by the Hokuo Maru, an inspection vessel of the Japanese Forestry and Fisheries Agency. The causes for the incident were not disclosed. Kamchatka border guards notified the district 17 command center of the U.S. Coast Guard about the incident through an international data exchange system.

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