Tuesday 18 December 2018

Two US warplanes crash off Japan coast

One person is in a stable condition while searches are under way for the six other crew members.

A F/A-18 jet at United States Marine Corps air station in Iwakuni, western Japan (Kyodo News via AP)
A F/A-18 jet at United States Marine Corps air station in Iwakuni, western Japan (Kyodo News via AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Two American warplanes have crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan’s south-western coast after a midair collision.

Rescuers found one of the seven crew members in stable condition while searching for the others, officials said.

The US Marine Corps said the crash involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 tanker aircraft.

Japan’s Defence Ministry said the two aircraft carrying seven crew members in total collided and crashed into the sea about 60 miles south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in south-western Japan.

Officials said the information was provided by the US side.

The Maritime Self-Defence Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join the rescue operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew members in stable condition.

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Japan’s Coast Guard ship during a search operation off Muroto, Kochi prefecture, south-western Japan (Kyodo News via AP)

No other details were provided. Japanese officials said two crew members were in the F/A-18, and five others in the KC-130.

The aircraft are based in the US Marine Corps base in Iwakuni, west of Hiroshima.

The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the US military deployed to and near Japan.

Last month, a US Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely.

In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after take-off, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.

More than 50,000 US troops are based in Japan under the bilateral security pact.

Press Association

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