Two US marine aircraft, having seven crew on-board, collided and crashed into the coast of Japan which triggered a huge rescue operation.
Marine aircraft were conducting scheduled training when the collision occurred
One of two rescued crew members is dead while five others still remain missing. The other recovered crew member is now in stable condition.
Marines officials told that an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet and a KC-130 Hercules collided and crashed during mid-air refueling exercise around 2 a.m. after they take off from Iwakuni, near Hiroshima. Two of the seven crew members were present in the F/A-18 and five were on the KC-130.
The Marine Corps has called the incident a ‘mishap’. According to Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya, Japanese aircraft and three vessels are carrying out the rescue operation. The US 7th Fleet is also taking part in the rescue operation and navy aircraft also deployed.
Marines stated that: “We are thankful for the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force’s efforts as they immediately responded in the search and rescue operation.”
It further reported that they rescued first Marine about four hours later whereas the second found 10 hours after the crash.
The head of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces, Katsutoshi Kawano said that search teams had marked aircraft debris floating in the sea.
According to Marine Expeditionary Force, the incident took place 200 miles (320km) off the Japanese coast. But, Japanese said that it happened almost about 100 kilometers (60 miles) within the coast and two crew members found during search and rescue mission.
The US planes were carrying out regular training when the mishap took place. Air-to-air refueling is really hard and potentially dangerous flight operation, especially at night. An extended-range tanker, the KC-130 used for mid-air refueling.
President Donald said his prayers are with the crew members involved in the crash. He also appreciated U.S. Forces deployed in Japan for their “immediate response and rescue efforts”.
Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet also crashed into the sea southwest of Japan’s southern Okinawa Island.
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