Navy suspends search for sailors missing after plane crash

The U.S. Navy suspended the search for three sailors who had been missing since a cargo plane crashed in the Western Pacific more than 36 hours earlier.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our lost shipmates and their families," Rear Adm. Marc Dalton said in a statement released late Thursday. "As difficult as this is, we are thankful for the rapid and effective response that led to the rescue of eight of our shipmates, and I appreciate the professionalism and dedication shown by all who participated in the search efforts."

Eight sailors were rescued after the C-2A "Greyhound" transport aircraft went down about 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa as it was bringing passengers and cargo from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

A former Navy C-2 pilot told Fox News Thursday that the fact that eight of the 11 people on board were rescued indicates the pilots performed a feat similar to Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who safely landed a crippled airliner in the Hudson River in 2009.

Military sources told Fox News that Navy officials are investigating several possible causes of the crash, including an extremely rare dual engine failure. Investigators are also looking at the plane's fuel and oil sources.

Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.