USA marines missing after aircraft 'mishap' off Japan

Hugh Fox
December 6, 2018

Both aircraft are reported to have crashed into the water.

Reports on Twitter indicate that two USA military aircraft have crashed during a midair refueling operation off Iwakuni, Japan.

An F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter similar to one involved in an incident off the coast of Japan on Wednesday.

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The Marine Corps suggested Japanese search and rescue aircraft had taken the lead on the rescue mission.

The KC-130 also can be used to transport ground troops. Japanese officials said two crew members were on FA-18, and five others on KC-130.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew members in stable condition.

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It is unclear whether United States military officials are also assisting with the search. When pilots want to refuel, they steer a boom attached to the front of their aircraft into a drogue receptacle that looks like a basket on the end of the KC-130's refueling hose, he said.

Officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity were unsure precisely how the mishap occurred but none suspected foul play.

A crash may have occurred mid-air during the refuelling but this is unconfirmed.

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"The circumstances of the mishap are now under investigation", Marine officials said in a statement.

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

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