5 missing as US Marines crash off Japan coast
06 December 2018 – A U.S. Marines FA-18 jet and KC-130 tanker plane collided and crashed off the western Japan coast early this morning, with five of the seven crew members still missing as rescue and search operations continued, the Japanese Defense Ministry said.
Of the two crew members rescued by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, one was in the FA-18 and was taken to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in western Japan where he is in stable condition, a Japanese government official said.
The condition of the other rescued crew member was not immediately known, according to the government.
The U.S. Marines said there were two crew in the fighter jet and five personnel on the tanker plane.
The SDF sent 10 aircraft and the Japan Coast Guard dispatched six patrol ships for search operations, government officials said. There were no reports of any civilian ships being affected by the crash.
The FA-18 and the KC-130 from the Iwakuni base were conducting routine training when they collided some 100 kilometers south of Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture at around 1:40 a.m., according to the ministry.
The Marines said the circumstances of the accident are under investigation.
The Iwakuni base, jointly used by Japanese and U.S. forces as well as commercial carriers, is home to some 120 U.S. aircraft. The base is also used for commercial aviation as Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport.
An FA-18 from the U.S. carrier Ronald Reagan crashed off Okinawa in November. Its two crew members were rescued.
In 2016, a Marines FA-18 stationed at Iwakuni crashed into the sea off Kochi, killing its pilot.
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