The US Navy Fifth Fleet has announced that a navy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft carrying four crew members has crashed into the Arabian Sea.

The crash occurred after the plane experienced mechanical malfunctions, forcing the crew to perform a controlled bail-out, according to the BBC.

Three crew members are confirmed alive and the navy is searching for the fourth.

The US Fifth Fleet said in a statement that the aircraft had crashed into the sea at about 14.00 local time (10.00 GMT) on Wednesday 31 March.

The plane was returning from operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan when the crash occurred.

A team on the navy’s USS Dwight D Eisenhower aircraft carrier is investigating the exact reason behind the incident.