US Marine crew missing after warplane, 1 dead after crash off Japan


A Navy refueling plane and fighter jet crashed in the Pacific Ocean off the southwest coast of Japan after colliding Thursday morning, killing one crew member, injuring another and prompting the search for five others apparently lost at sea, the Marine Corps confirmed.

The rescued Marine was in fair condition.

Search and rescue continues for the other five Marines who were aboard the KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft and F / A-18 Hornet fighter when the crash occurred approximately 200 miles away. from the Japanese coasts. The warplanes were conducting routine training and in-flight refueling around 2 a.m. when the incident occurred, according to the Marines.

The Navy pilots a P-8A reconnaissance aircraft to search for missing Marines. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces and the Japanese Coast Guard also participated in the search.

President Donald Trump expressed his support for the US forces carrying out the search, tweeting his thanks for their “immediate response and rescue efforts” and adding, “Whatever you need, we are here for you.”

The crash adds to a growing list of accidents involving US military aircraft in recent years.

A KC-130 refueling plane crashed July 10, 2017 in Mississippi, killing 15 Marines and one sailor. The accident was caused by a propeller blade that ruptured and penetrated the aircraft’s fuselage, the Marine Corps said Wednesday after a more than a year-long investigation.

Investigators discovered that the aircraft’s propeller had not been properly maintained during its last overhaul in September 2011. Crews missed the corrosion that may have contributed to the failure of the propeller blade.

There has also been a recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed in and around Japan.

Last month, a US Navy F / A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Okinawa Island, southern Japan, although its two pilots were rescued safely.

In mid-October, an MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, leaving around ten non-fatal injuries.

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

Contribution: Associated Press

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