5 missing Marines declared dead in warplanes crash off Japan

by Garry Watts December 12, 2018, 13:48
5 missing Marines declared dead in warplanes crash off Japan

The U.S. military ended a search on Tuesday for five Marines missing in the sea off Japan since two Marine Corps aircraft were involved in an accident during an air-to-air refueling exercise on December 6.

The crash involving an F/A-18 fighter jet with two crew onboard and a KC-130 refuelling tanker with five crew occurred in the early morning around 100 kilometres (55 nautical miles) off the cape of Muroto in southwestern Japan.

Two crew members in the F/A-18 were recovered after the accident, but one died.

Searches by Japanese authorities and USA forces for the remaining five marines, who are believed to have been aboard the KC-130, are still underway in an area of the Pacific Ocean about 100 km (60 miles) south of Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture.

The US planes had taken off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni near Hiroshima and "were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred", the III Marine Expeditionary Force said.

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The American military presence on Okinawa has irked Japanese civilians on the island and created tension in the otherwise warm relations between the USA and Japanese militaries. Among the missing is Carter Ross, an air crewman of the KC-130 refuel plane that was involved in the collision.

"All of us in the Sumo family are extremely saddened following the announcement of the conclusion of search and rescue operation", the squadron's commanding officer, Lt. Col. Mitchell T. Maury, said in the statement.

And in November 2017, a C-2A "Greyhound" aircraft with 11 people on board went down in the Philippine Sea - eight were rescued and the search was called off for the remaining three after a two-day search.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The first has been released from a hospital, while the second - Capt. Jahmar Resilard, 28 - was pronounced dead after being found by a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces ship.

The crash is the latest in a series of recent accidents involving USA military forces deployed in and near Japan.

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