Search underway after 2 Marine aircraft crash off coast of Japan

Charlene Craig
December 6, 2018

A US Marine Corps F-18 fighter takes off from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military base in Aviano, Italy.

A KC-130 midair refueling a tanker and an F/A-18 fighter jet, which was being refueled, were involved in what the military called a "mishap".

The Military Times reported earlier this year that aviation accidents jumped almost 40 percent from fiscal years 2013 to 2017. "The aviators retained their wings and will continue service to their country as valued members of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing", he said.

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It is not yet clear whether the S-300s were among the air defense systems used in the Thursday night counterattacks. However, speaking to Reuters , an Israeli military spokesman rejected the RIA report as "bogus".

Both aircraft are reported to have crashed into the water.

The US military has about 50,000 troops stationed in Japan and accidents are not uncommon.

"The incident is regrettable, but our focus at the moment is on search and rescue", he said.

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It was not clear immediately clear whether the aircraft collided while crossing in the air, or if the KC-130 was in the process of refueling the Hornet when the incident occurred.

The Marine Corps offered little information in a statement about the incident, which occurred at 2am (4am AEDT) on Thursday. A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it occurred during a refueling exercise.

Rescuers found one of seven crew members, who were on-board the plans, in a stable condition and are still searching for the others, officials said. An investigation has begun. Japanese search and rescue aircraft were immediately deployed and rescued at least one Marine.

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He added later: "We've taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse, and we got there". The United States is naturally putting America first with USMCA.

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