At least six US Marines were missing after two military aircraft crashed during Aerial refueling off the coast of Japan, the US Marine Corps said in a statement. The aircraft – an F-18 fighter and a C-130 tanker – had taken off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in southern Japan. The “mishap” occurred when the planes were conducting regular training, it read further.
The search and rescue operations to find the missing marines were underway. According to a 1st Marine Aircraft Wing spokesperson, Second Lieutenant Alyssa Morales, one of the marines was rescued alive and being assessed by doctors. However, the search and rescue operations will continue till the missing six marines are found.
“Search and rescue operations continue for U.S. Marine Corps aircraft that were involved in a mishap approximately 200 miles off of the coast of Japan around 2:00 am December 6. One of the personnel involved has been rescued by Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force,” III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) said in a Facebook statement.
The US Marins also thanked the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force for their efforts in the search and rescue mission. “They immediately responded to aid in recovery," the Marines 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.
Five persons were at the C-130 tanker aircraft and two were on the F-18 fighter jet. The US has stationed over 50,000 troops in Japan and they carry out regular training exercises, therefore, such accidents are not uncommon. The circumstances of the crash, however, were being probed.