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2 U.S. warplanes crash off Kochi Pref.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo

A KC-130 aerial tanker, right, and an F/A-18 fighter jet are seen during a demonstration over Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in May 2017.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A U.S. Marine Corps’ F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 aerial tanker crashed into the Pacific Ocean after a midair collision off the southwestern coast of Japan early Thursday morning.

The two warplanes, both stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture, collided and crashed around 1:40 a.m. about 100 kilometers south-southeast of Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture.

The collision is believed to have occurred during an aerial refueling training mission.

Self-Defense Forces personnel are leading search and rescue efforts. Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters that the immediate focus is on search and rescue. “We’ll respond appropriately once the details of the incident are known,” he said.

Two crew members were aboard the F/A-18 and five aboard the KC-130, and two of them were rescued, according to the ministry.

One of the rescued members had been on the F/A-18 and remains conscious with no life-threatening injuries. The condition of the other was not immediately known. The remaining five are missing.

The wreckage of the warplanes has yet to be discovered. There has been no damage to civilian vessels.

The Marine Corps in Japan said the two warplanes were “involved in a mishap” off the coast of Japan. “The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation,” it said.Speech

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