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One dead in warplane crash

UPDATE: 4:50 p.m.

One of two crew members recovered after two U.S. warplanes 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.

Both were in an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet that collided with a KC-130 Hercules refuelling aircraft during training at about 2 a.m. after taking off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima. The five others were in the KC-130.

The Marines said in a statement that the two planes were involved in routine training, including aerial refuelling, but that it was still investigating what caused the crash.

President Donald Trump tweeted that his thoughts and prayers are with the Marine Corps crew members involved in the collision. He thanked the U.S. Forces in Japan for their "immediate response and rescue efforts" and said "Whatever you need, we are here for you."


ORIGINAL: 5:30 a.m.

A Marine refuelling plane and a fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan's southwestern coast after colliding early Thursday, and rescuers found two of the seven crew members, one of them in stable condition, officials said.

The U.S. Marine Corps said that the 2 a.m. crash involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refuelling aircraft during regular refuelling training after the planes took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima in western Japan.

The crash took place 320 kilometres (200 miles) off the coast, according to the U.S. military. Japanese officials said it occurred closer to the coast, about 100 kilometres (60 miles), and that's where the search and rescue mission found two crew members.

The two aircraft were carrying seven crew members in total, two in the F/A-18 and five others in the KC-130, when they collided and crashed into the sea south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Maritime Self-Defence Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew from the fighter jet in stable condition. The Marines said that the rescued crew was taken to a hospital on the base in Iwakuni, but did not provide any other details.

Details of the second crew, including his or her condition, were unknown immediately.

The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.



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