At least 2 US Marines found after mid-air crash off Japan

07-Dec-2018 Intellasia | CBS News | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A US Marine Corp refuelling plane and a fighter jet carrying a total of seven US troops collided and crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan’s southwestern coast early Thursday. Rescuers found two of the crew members involved, officials said, but search and rescue operations were continuing for the five others.

The US Marine Corps said the 2 a.m. crash involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refuelling aircraft during regular refuelling training after they took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima in western Japan.

The US military said the crash occurred 200 miles off the coast. Japanese officials said it happened closer to land, about 60 miles out, and that’s where the Japanese search and rescue mission found two crew members.

There were two pilots in the F/A-18 and five crew members in the KC-130, officials said. One of the troops rescued from the Pacific was in fair condition and the other was being transported to a local hospital for evaluation, the Marines confirmed in a Facebook post on the official page of the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search, said it first recovered one of the fighter jet’s crew members in stable condition. There was no immediate word on the condition of the second crew member rescued from the water.

The crash was the latest in recent series of accidents involving the US military deployed to and near Japan.

Last month, a US Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.

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

The Reuters news agency noted that US military accidents are a “sensitive” topic in Japan, especially in Okinawa, where most of the US military personnel in Japan are based. “A series of emergency landings and parts falling from US military aircraft have highlighted safety concerns,” Reuters said.


Category: Japan

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