A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet fighter jet and a KC-130J Hercules tanker aircraft have crashed during a midair refueling about 200 miles off the coast of Japan.
The incident occurred at around 2 a.m. Thursday (Dec. 6) and according to reports, two crew members were in the F/A-18 fighter jet while five were aboard the larger aircraft. Both aircraft were launched out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regularly scheduled training.
Two of the the personnel involved in the mishap was rescued by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and is currently being evaluated by competent medical authorities at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.
One of the Marines was reported to be found alive earlier in the day but the second crew’s condition is currently unknown.
“The United States 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 USMC said in a statement.
According to the USMC, the search and rescue operations is continuing for the remaining five U.S. Marines who were aboard aircraft involved in a mishap.
The U.S. 7th Fleet is supporting ongoing search and rescue efforts with a Navy P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft flying out of Kadena Air Force Base, along with assistance from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japanese Coast Guard.
The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation, added the USMC statement.