In brief: Pilot ejects as F-15 crashes into sea off coast of Okinawa
TOKYO – A U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter crashed off the southern Japan island of Okinawa early Tuesday after the aircraft developed problems in flight. The pilot ejected and was recovered safely.
The F-15, flying out of Kadena Air Base, went down in the Pacific about 70 miles east of Okinawa, the military said in a statement.
Lt. Col. David Honchul, the chief spokesman for the U.S. Forces, Japan, said the pilot was recovered safely after a search by U.S. and Japanese rescue crews. After he ejected from the plane, the pilot remained in contact with the rescuers.
The cause was under investigation. The pilot’s name has not been released.
California wildfire forces campers to evacuate forest
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A surging wildfire forced more than 1,000 people, including Memorial Day campers, to evacuate the mountains of California’s Santa Barbara County, officials said.
The fire broke out about 2:45 p.m. Monday in Los Padres National Forest about 15 miles north of Santa Barbara and quickly surged to 700 acres amid winds of about 20 mph, U.S. Forest Service officials said.
The fire was threatening about 50 homes, many of them cabins and vacation rentals, and 50 to 75 residents had evacuated, county fire Capt. David Sadecki said.
Paradise Road and the many campgrounds along it were closed, forcing about 1,000 campers to evacuate, Sadecki said.
A U.S. Forest Service garage and two vehicles had burned, he said.
The American Red Cross set up an evacuation center at Santa Barbara City College and another was set up for horses stalled in the area’s many stables.
A huge plume of gray and white smoke rose over the mountains and hovered over Santa Barbara, where many residents flooded Facebook and Twitter with photos.