1 Dead, 5 Missing After US Military Planes Collide Off Japan Coast

A Marine refuelling plane and a fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan’s southwestern coast after a midair collision early on Thursday, 6 December. One of the two crew members rescued has died, while five others remain missing, the US military said.

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

The crash took place 320 kilometres (200 miles) off the coast.

Japan’s Defence Ministry said the aircraft, carrying seven crew members in total, collided and crashed into the sea south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan.

The Maritime Self-Defence Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew members in stable condition. The Marine Corps said the rescued crew was taken to a hospital at its base in Iwakuni and was being treated, but did not provide any other details.

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Japanese officials said two crew members were in the F/A-18, and five others in the KC-130.

Latest in Series of Accidents Involving US Military Deployed Near Japan

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

More than 50,000 US troops are based in Japan under the bilateral security pact.

Last month, a US Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan's southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.

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