One of two crew members recovered after two U.S. military planes collided and crashed off Japan’s coast early Thursday is dead and five others remain missing, the U.S. military said.
The Marine Corps said the other recovered crew member was in fair condition.
An F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet and a KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft collided during training at about 2 a.m. after taking off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima, the Marines said. The seven crew members included two in the F/A-18 and five in the KC-130.
The Marines said in a statement that the two planes were involved in routine training, including aerial refueling, but that it was still investigating what was happening when the accident occurred.
The crash took place 200 miles off the coast, according to the U.S. military. Japanese officials said it occurred closer to the coast, about 60 miles, and that’s where the search and rescue mission found two crew members.
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew from the fighter jet. The Marines said the rescued crew member was taken to a hospital on the base in Iwakuni and was in fair condition but did not provide any other details.
Japan’s coast guard also joined the search.
The crash is the latest in a recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.
Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier 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, injuring a dozen sailors.
More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Japan under the bilateral security pact.