Sun | Dec 16, 2018

2 US warplanes crash off Japan, 2 found and 5 missing

Published:Thursday | December 6, 2018 | 10:44 AM
In this October. 13, 2016, photo provided by U.S. Marine Corps, two F/A-18D Hornets with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 approach a KC-130J with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 during a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command aerial refueling exercise in an undisclosed location. (Cpl. Trever Statz/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — A Marine refuelling plane and a fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan’s southwestern coast after colliding early Thursday, and rescuers found two of the seven crew members, one of them in stable condition, officials said.

The U.S. Marine Corps said that the 2 a.m. crash involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refuelling aircraft during regular refuelling training after the planes took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima in western Japan.

The crash took place 320 kilometers (200 miles) off the coast, according to the U.S. military. Japanese officials said it occurred closer to the coast, about 60 miles, and that’s where the search and rescue mission found two crew members.

The two aircraft were carrying seven crew members in total, two in the F/A-18 and five others in the KC-130, when they collided and crashed into the sea south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew from the fighter jet in stable condition.

The Marines said that the rescued crew was taken to a hospital on the base in Iwakuni, but did not provide any other details.

Details of the second crew, including his or her condition, were unknown immediately.

The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.

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