A crew member that was rescued on Thursday in the waters near Japan where two Marine Corps aircraft collided during a training exercise has died, U.S. officials told Fox News.
The report of the death comes in the midst of a mad search for five other crew members who are still missing. Another Marine who was rescued is listed in fair condition.
The Marines said an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refueling aircraft collided and crashed during training around 2 a.m. Thursday. The planes left their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima, and the crash took place about 200 miles off the Japan coast.
Maj. Eric Flanagan, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Fox News “As to what was taking place when the mishap occurred, that is under investigation,” .
Search and rescue operations continue for a KC-130 and an F/A-18 that were involved in a mishap off of the coast of Japan around 2:00 a.m. Dec. 6.
The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation.
Media can contact @IIIMEF at IIIMEFMEDIA@usmc.mil.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) December 5, 2018
There were two crew members in the F/A-18 and five in the KC-130 during the time of the incident.
The crash is the 21st non-combat military crash in 2018, topping 20 of such disasters in 2017, and only the latest in a recent numbers of accidents involving members of the U.S. military sent to and near Japan.
Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, although its two pilots were rescued safely. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea just after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a many sailors.
More than 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan under the bilateral security pact.
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