Search and Rescue Operations Continue for U.S. Marines off the Coast of Japan

The search and rescue operations continue for the remaining five U.S. Marines who were aboard the KC-130 Hercules and F/A-18 Hornet involved in a mishap about 200 miles off of the coast of Japan around 2:00 a.m. on Dec. 6.

The aircraft were conducting routine training and aerial refueling was a part of the training; as to what was taking place when the mishap occurred, that is under investigation.

The United States Marine Corps confirmed earlier that two Marines have been found. One is in fair condition and the other has been declared deceased by competent medical personnel.

Thus far, both U.S. and Japanese air and maritime assets have been involved in the effort to find the five missing Marines. The search area was expanded on Dec. 9 based on ocean drift patterns to cover all potential areas the crew might be located.

U.S. air assets that are participating in this effort include:

+ U.S. Air Force MC-130J Commando II combat transport/special operations tanker
+ CV-22 Osprey – special operations variant of the V-22 tiltrotor transport aircraft
+ C-130J Super Hercules tactical airlifter
+ RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft
+ KC-135 Stratotanker military aerial refueling aircraft
+ RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft
+ U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft

The U.S. assets have been joined in this search by numerous Japan Maritime and Air Self Defense Force (JMSDF, JASDF) aircraft and ships as well as Japan Coast Guard (JCG) aircraft and ships. Additionally Australia has contributed a P-8 Poseidon to the effort.

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