Rescuers are searching for five missing Marines after a pair of U.S. warplanes collided in mid-air during a refueling exercise off the coast of Japan.
Two marines were pulled from the sea, but one of them has died.
***UPDATE*** (2300/Dec 6,2018)
The United States Marine Corps confirms that two Marines have been found. One is in fair condition and the other has been declared deceased by competent medical personnel. For more information visit https://t.co/B0VqVdOcMI
— III MEF Marines (@IIIMEF) December 6, 2018
Right now, multiple rescue ships are racing against time in the sea off Japan, looking for the five missing Marines.
“My heart goes out to the families and the colleagues of the Marines that were involved in this tragedy,” said U.S. Ambassador to Japan, William Hagerty.
Two planes were conducting “regularly scheduled training,” according to U.S. military officials who call the crash a “mishap” but have not given more details about what happened.
Both planes launched from Marine Corp Air Station Ikwakini in Japan. They crashed approximately 55 nautical miles off the coast.
At 2 a.m. Local time, the KC-130J, which often provides re-fueling support, went down along with a F/A-18 Hornet.
Re-fueling operations are standard military procedure. A hose trails from the tanker aircraft which the combat jet receives the fuel at up to 3,000 pounds per minute.
The cause of the crash is still unclear.
One of the marines who was rescued was alive after 10 hours in the water.