Search under way after US warplanes crash off Japan

December 06, 2018

Five US servicemen are missing after two American warplanes collided in midair and crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

The US Marine Corps said an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 tanker aircraft were involved in the accident, which happened off the southwestern coast of Japan during "regularly scheduled training" on Thursday.

Of the seven crew members on board the planes - five on the KC-130 and two on the F/A-18 - only two have been found so far.

Japanese rescuers said the first marine to be rescued was in a stable condition, but no details have been released about the second, who was found about 10 hours after the collision.

The search for the other five servicemen is ongoing about 60 miles south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island.

The US Marines said: "We are thankful for the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force's efforts as they immediately responded in the search and rescue operation."

Both planes are usually based at a US site in Iwakuni, west of Hiroshima, where many of the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan also stay.

The crash comes just a month after a US F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Okinawa.

And in mid-October, an MH-60 Seahawk belonging to the same carrier crashed off the Philippine Sea after takeoff.

Nobody was killed in either of the accidents.

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