An aerial disaster prompted a scramble to find five missing Marines, with a sixth Marine declared dead and a seventh rescued safely from waters off the coast of Japan, Japanese and American officials said Thursday
Investigations into the collision found that the pilot of F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft was alive for nearly 10 hours after ejections.
As reported by Stars and Stripes, Smartwatch data suggests a Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet pilot was alive on the surface of the ocean for nearly 10 hours before he drowned.
The heart rate data is included in a command investigation report on the incident, which claimed the life of Capt. Jahmar Resilard, 28, along with five Marines in the tanker. The group flew out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni near Hiroshima.
Resilard — referred to as “MP2” by investigators — was wearing a Garmin Fenix 3 smartwatch when he ejected from the fighter jet at 1:44 a.m. on Dec. 6, according to the command investigation report released Sept. 26.
“The data from the watch indicated that MP2’s heart was beating at an average of 86 beats per minute until approximately 1130,” the report states.
“MP2’s Garmin smartwatch indicates that MP2 was alive on the surface of the ocean from approximately 0145 until approximately 1130 (nine hours and 45 minutes) in 68 degrees Fahrenheit water.”
Resilard’s body was brought onboard a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship, the JS Setoyuki, at 12:22 p.m., the report states.
An autopsy report showed the downed aviator had cuts and bruises, a head injury and appeared to have drowned.
Investigators noted that neither Resilard nor his weapons officer, who also ejected but was rescued from an inflatable raft, were wearing anti-exposure suits that can prolong survival in cold water.