U.S. warplanes crash off Japan; 1 rescued, 6 missing

Geneva Stokes
December 6, 2018

Six US marines were missing after two American military aircraft crashed on Thursday during a refuelling operation off the coast of Japan, officials from both countries told AFP. The crew member was reportedly taken to a hospital at a Marine Corps base in Iwakuni and was being treated.

One of the rescued crew members, who was in the FA-18, was taken to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in western Japan, while the other was taken to a ship of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, according to USA and Japanese authorities.

They said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew members in stable condition.

The Marines say an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refuelling aircraft collided and crashed during training around 2 a.m. after the planes took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima.

The crew member rescued had been in the fighter jet, the minister confirmed.

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The Self-Defense Forces sent 10 aircraft and the Japan Coast Guard dispatched six patrol ships for the rescue operation, government officials said.

The circumstances of the mishap are now under investigation, the military added. Jerry Martinez, the commander of the US Forces Japan, to find out the reasons behind the crash and share the information on the accident with the Japanese authorities as soon as possible.

In November, a USA navy fighter jet crashed into the sea off Japan's southern island of Okinawa and its two crew members were rescued alive.

Yoshihiko Fukuda, mayor of Iwakuni that hosts the United States base where the two aircraft were based, told the city assembly he had asked the military to halt operations until the cause of the accident became clear.

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