Six members of the US Navy are missing after two military aircraft collided off the west coast of Japan, the US Armed Forces deployed in the Asian country reported on Thursday.
One of the seven crew members involved in the accident was rescued and was “being evaluated by the competent authorities” at the Japanese air base in Iwakuni, while “search and rescue operations continue for the remaining six marines”, the US Marine Corps Base Camp Butler reported on social networks.
“The collision occurred around 2 a.m. on December 6 between an FA-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 tanker plane which came from the Iwakuni airfield and were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred,” according to the statement cited by CNN.
The crash happened 200 miles off the coast of Iwakuni, Japan. There were five personnel on the KC-130 and two on the FA-18, said US defence officials.
Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said that the rescued Marine was one of the two crew members who were travelling aboard the fighter jet and that his state of health “was stable”.
He said that Japan sent several aircraft and three ships to help with the search and rescue efforts.
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.