Okinawa Tragedy: Third U.S. Airman Pulled From Sea After Typhoon

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The body of the third U.S. airman washed away while taking photos during Typhoon Phanfone was recovered on Wednesday, the U.S. Air Force said. A rescue team made the grim discovery hours after commencing their third day of searching after the men were dragged out to sea on October 5. "We continue to grieve with the family, friends and fellow Airmen of those lost in this tragedy," Col. Thomas Torkelson, vice commander of the 18th Wing of the U.S. Air Force, said. "And we will never leave an Airman behind."

The remains were found in the water a few miles south of where the trio were last seen. They had been taking pictures of the giant waves whipped up by Phanfone, which hit Japan with 100 mph wind gusts, grounding flights and knocking out power. The body of Senior Master Sgt. James Swartz was recovered soon after the incident and a second body was retrieved two days later. A fourth airman who had been among the group managed to crawl to safety. The identity of the third missing airman was not immediately released.


- Arata Yamamoto and Christina Boyle