US military planes crash off Japan, 5 missing



Two American Marines were rescued from the ocean while another five remained missing after two US military jets collided mid-air during manoeuvres off the coast of Japan on Thursday, officials said.

"The US Marine Corps confirms that two Marines have been found. One is in fair condition and the other is being transported to a local hospital for evaluation," the Marine Corps said in a statement cited by Efe news.

"The search and rescue operations continue for the remaining five US Marines," it added.

The accident took place around 2 a.m. about 320 km off the coast of western Japan, when a FA-18 Hornet fighter jet and a KC-130 Hercules transport plane, which had taken off from the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, collided while "conducting routine training and aerial refuelling", according to the statement.

It was believed that five crew were on board the KC-130 and two on the F/A-18 at the time of the crash, US defence officials told CNN. The circumstances surrounding the accident were being investigated.

The US 7th Fleet was carrying out search and rescue efforts with assistance from the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the Japanese Coast Guard.

Thursday's accident came two weeks after another US FA-18 fighter jet crashed into the sea off Naha, the capital of Okinawa Prefecture, in the southwest of Japan, after taking off from the USS Ronald Reagan nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, but there were no casualties. - IANS