Japan’s maritime forces have so far rescued one of the seven Marines who were aboard the two aircraft at the time of the accident.
The aircraft, a KC-130 Hercules refuelling aircraft and an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet, had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regular training. (Photo: Facebook/US Marines
Six US Marines were missing following a still-unexplained mishap off the coast of Japan on Thursday involving two U.S. Marine Corps aircraft, which may have collided mid-air during a refuelling exercise gone wrong, US officials said.
Japan’s defence ministry said that its maritime forces had so far rescued one of the seven Marines who were aboard the two aircraft at the time of the incident. Search and rescue efforts were ongoing, US and Japanese officials said.
One of the personnel involved in the mishap is being evaluated by competent medical authorities at @MCASIwakuni. The search and rescue operations continue for the remaining six Marines.
U.S. Marines (@USMC December 6, 2018
The Marine Corps said in a statement that the incident occurred at 2 am local time in Japan on Thursday (1700 GMT Wednesday about 200 miles (322 km off the Japanese coast.
Search and rescue operations continue for a KC-130 and an F/A-18 that were involved in a mishap off of the coast of Japan around 2:00 a.m. Dec. 6.
The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation.
U.S. Marines (@USMC December 5, 2018
The aircraft, a KC-130 Hercules refuelling aircraft and an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet, had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regular training when there was a “mishap,” the Marine Corps said.
The Marine Corps did not elaborate on the nature of the incident. A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it occurred during a refuelling exercise.
Officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity were unsure precisely how the mishap occurred but none suspected foul play. An investigation has begun.
The Marine Corps suggested Japanese search and rescue aircraft had taken the lead on the rescue mission.