1 rescued, 6 Marines Missing after 2 US military aircraft crash off Japan
Rescue operations were underway Thursday for six US marines missing after two American military aircraft crashed during a refueling operation off the coast of Japan, the Japanese defense minister said.
One serviceman has already been rescued and is thought to be in a stable condition, Takeshi Iwaya told reporters. The rescued Marine is being evaluated by medical personnel at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, while the search continues for the remaining six Marines involved in the crash.
One of the personnel involved in the mishap is being evaluated by competent medical authorities at @MCASIwakuni. The search and rescue operations continue for the remaining six Marines.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) December 6, 2018
“US military and the Japanese Self-Defense planes and vessels are searching for those still missing… I hope all the members will be rescued safely as soon as possible,” Iwaya added.
The marines were conducting “regularly scheduled training” when the crash occurred around 2am local time, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement.
The F/A-18 fighter jet with two crew onboard and a KC-130 refueling tanker with five crew — crashed into the sea around 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the cape of Muroto in south-western Japan, Iwaya said.
The crew member rescued had been in the fighter jet, the minister confirmed.
Japan’s Self-Defense Forces had deployed nine aircraft and three vessels for the search, he said.
“We are thankful for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s efforts as they immediately responded in the search and rescue operation,” the Marines said.
A spokesman for the Japanese coastguard said six vessels and an aircraft had been dispatched separately to assist in the rescue efforts.
There are few details about the circumstances of what the Marines described as a “mishap” and an investigation is underway.
Search and rescue operations continue for a KC-130 and an F/A-18 that were involved in a mishap off of the coast of Japan around 2:00 a.m. Dec. 6.
The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation.
Media can contact @IIIMEF at IIIMEFMEDIA@usmc.mil.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) December 5, 2018
The pair of aircraft had taken off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were involved in “regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred,” according to the service branch.
An F/A-18 fighter aircraft attempting to replenish its fuel supply crashed with two servicemembers aboard during the refueling accident. The C-130 tanker, carrying five individuals, crashed as well, CBS reported, citing the US Marines.
In November, a US Navy fighter jet crashed into the sea off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa and its two crew members were rescued alive.
And in November 2017, a C-2A “Greyhound” aircraft with 11 people on board went down in the Philippine Sea — eight were rescued and the search was called off for the remaining three after a two-day search.