US Aircrafts Collide, Crash into Sea off Japan: 5 Marines Missing
Five US Marines went missing as two Marine Corps aircraft collided in mid-air and crashed into the sea off Japan coast during an air-to-air refueling exercise on Thursday, Japanese and American officials said.
Commenting on the issue, Japan's Defense Ministry said its maritime forces had so far found two of the seven Marines who were aboard the aircraft - an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet and a KC-130 Hercules - at the time of the incident.
One was in a stable condition at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, while the second had been found about 10 hours after the collision and brought aboard a Japanese military vessel, the ministry said. No other details about the second Marine were known, a ministry spokesman said.
Search-and-rescue efforts for the remaining five continued, Japan's highest-ranking military officer said.
"We plan to keep at it all through the night," Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces' Joint Staff, told a news conference.
The incident adds to a growing list of US military aviation accidents around the world in recent years, prompting hearings in Congress to address the rise.
The Military Times reported earlier this year that aviation accidents jumped nearly 40 percent from fiscal years 2013 to 2017. At least 133 service members were killed in those incidents, it said.
Congressional leaders called the rash of accidents a "crisis" and blamed it on continuous combat operations, deferred modernization, lack of training and ageing equipment.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team