USS John S. McCain is seen at sea off Singapore's Changi Naval Base, on Aug. 21, 2017. Ten sailors were missing and five others injured after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant vessel in waters east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore early on Monday, the U.S.navy said in a statement. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)
WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- As many as 37 U.S. troops were lost in crashes of military non-combat planes flying routine operations so far this year, including the three missing American sailors in a U.S. Navy plane crash earlier this week.
That is more than 130 percent higher than the number killed in non-combat plane crashes at this point in 2016, according to a Fox News investigation report on Saturday.
The total number of U.S. military non-combat plane crashes also skyrocketed to 22, up 38 percent from this time last year, said the report.
The crash of the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet C-2 Greyhound cargo plane occurred 575 miles out to sea while flying from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan on Wednesday. Eight on board survived and three others went missing.
Just two days before the Navy plane crash, an Air Force T-38 training jet crashed in Texas killing one pilot and injuring another. A mechanical failure is suspected. A similar Navy training jet, a T-45, crashed last month killing both pilots.
In August, an Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed off the coast of Hawaii, killing five soldiers. Late this month, a Marine Corps V-22 Osprey crashed off the east coast of Australia killing three Marines and rescue workers saved 23 others.
In July, a Marine Corps KC-130 transport plane crashed in the Mississippi Delta killing all 16 on board after reaching cruising altitude during a routine cross-country flight to California originating from North Carolina.
In April, U.S. media reported that instructor pilots refusing to fly the Navy's T-45 training jet, citing poison in the plane's oxygen system, the Navy grounded its fleet of some 200 jets for weeks afterwards.
"We are killing more of our own people in training than our enemies are in combat," John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and former naval aviator, said on the senate floor earlier this year.
The U.S. Navy is down 41 ships and 90,000 sailors since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Fox News report, blaming the defense budget which has prioritized the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for years.