The US Marine Corps says two of its aircraft were involved in a “mishap” off the coast of Japan, and a search-and-rescue operation is underway. Very few details have been made public after the initial USMC news release.
Rescue operations are underway off the coast of Japan for survivors of an aviation “mishap” during a training exercise, according to the USMC.
Reports citing Marines officials indicate the incident involved a KC-130 refueling aircraft and a F/A-18 fighter jet, carrying 7 personnel in total. The aircraft had taken off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, before reportedly colliding in mid-air at around 2am local time on Thursday.
Japanese rescue crews have so far found two Marines out of seven. One of the servicemen is in a stable condition, the condition of the other is unknown, the Japanese government reported.
MCAS Iwakuni is located on the island of Honshu, in the Yamaguchi prefecture, south of Hiroshima.
The Marines’ statement also indicates that Japanese planes have joined in the search efforts, adding that the investigation is ongoing” and “no other information is yet available.”
US bases in Japan have been plagued with many such “mishaps,” sometimes endangering the local residents. In one incident in December 2017, an American helicopter began to fall apart above a school in Okinawa, leaving a 10-year-old child injured.
Protests by residents over the past few years have grown, particularly in light of the bases’ environmental toll. In August, a plan to relocate the largest US air base in Japan on Okinawa island drew tens of thousands of protesters who want the base removed entirely.