One Marine is dead, another is injured and five others are missing after a refueling plane and a fighter jet collided and then plunged into the Pacific Ocean off Japan’s southwestern coast on Thursday.
The 2 a.m. crash involved an F/A-18 Hornet and a KC-130 Hercules refueling jet after the planes took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima.
Two of the seven crew members were recovered, but one of them did not survive. The other is in fair condition, the Marines said.
“The aircraft were conducting routine training and aerial refueling was a part of the training; as to what was taking place when the mishap occurred, that is under investigation,” the U.S. Marine Corps said in a statement.
The U.S. military said the crash took place 200 miles off the coast, but Japanese officials said it occurred only 60 miles from land, which is where the two crew members were found.
The Marine Corps said that it is thankful for the efforts of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Japanese Coast Guard, and the U.S. 7th Fleet “as they continue to respond to the search and rescue operation.”
The tragic crash is the latest in a series of U.S. military accidents that have taken place in or near Japan. More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based in the country.