US mil­i­tary jets col­lide midair off Ja­pan coast 2 res­cued, while five Marines are still miss­ing

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RES­CUE op­er­a­tions were un­der­way Thurs­day for five US marines miss­ing af­ter two Amer­i­can mil­i­tary air­craft crashed dur­ing a re­fu­elling op­er­a­tion off the coast of Ja­pan, the Ja­panese de­fence minister said. One crew mem­ber has al­ready been res­cued and is thought to be in a sta­ble con­di­tion, Takeshi Iwaya told re­porters.

A spokesman for the Ja­pan Self-De­fense Forces (SDF) said an­other crew mem­ber had been found but there

One Ma­rine was de­clared dead

were no im­me­di­ate de­tails of the ma­rine's con­di­tion. The Ma­rine is be­ing trans­ported to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal for eval­u­a­tion, the US mil­i­tary said in a state­ment.

US mil­i­tary and the Ja­panese Self-De­fense planes and ves­sels are search­ing for those still miss­ing... I hope all the mem­bers will be res­cued safely as soon as pos­si­ble, Iwaya added. The marines were con­duct­ing reg­u­larly sched­uled train­ing when the crash oc­curred around 2:00 am lo­cal time, the 3rd Ma­rine Ex­pe­di­tionary Force said in a state­ment. The F/A-18 fighter jet with two crew on­board and a KC-130 re­fu­elling tanker with five crew crashed into the sea around 100 kilo­me­tres (55 nau­ti­cal miles) off the cape of Muroto in south­west­ern Ja­pan, Iwaya said.

The crew mem­ber res­cued had been in the fighter jet, the min- is­ter con­firmed. Ja­pan's SDF had de­ployed nine air­craft and three ves­sels for the search, he said. We are thank­ful for the Ja­pan Mar­itime Self-De­fense Force's ef­forts as they im­me­di­ately re­sponded in the search and res­cue op­er­a­tion, the Marines said. A spokesman for the Ja­panese coast­guard said six ves­sels and an air­craft had been dis­patched sep­a­rately to as­sist in the res­cue ef­forts.

There are few de­tails about the cir­cum­stances of what the Marines de­scribed as a mishap

PAK­ISTAN’S army on Thurs­day threw its sup­port be­hind the lat­est U.S. ef­forts for a po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment with the Afghan Tal­iban to end a 17-year-old war, urg­ing Wash­ing­ton to leave Kabul as a friend of the re­gion rather than a ‘fail­ure’.

The com­ments by Pak­istan’s army spokesman, Ma­jor-Gen­eral Asif Ghafoor, came just af­ter the U.S. spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Afghanistan, Zal­may Khalilzad, con­cluded a visit to the Pak­istani cap­i­tal of Is­lam­abad.

“As much as we can, we will fa­cil­i­tate,” Ghafoor told a news con­fer­ence in the gar­ri­son city of Rawalpindi, re­ply­ing to a query about what Pak­istan could do to help the United States ne­go­ti­ate a po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment with the Tal­iban. “What the U.S. is ex­pect­ing from us, and the for­eign of­fice is co­op­er­at­ing with, is that some­how they could have these ne­go­ti­a­tions with them (Tal­iban).” Ghafoor added, “We wish that (the) U.S. leaves Afghanistan as friend of the and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way. Pub­lic broad­caster NHK sent a he­li­copter to try to find the crash site but was un­able to lo­cate it due to heavy fog and rain. Dur­ing a nor­mal KC-130 re­fu­elling op­er­a­tion, the tanker air­craft trails a hose from the re­gion, not as a fail­ure.” He did not elab­o­rate.

Khalilzad, an Afghan-born vet­eran U.S. diplo­mat who served as Ge­orge W. Bush’s am­bas­sador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, was named by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion three back of the plane with a so­called drogue, shaped a bit like a wind­sock, at the end. The fighter jet then in­serts a probe in­side the drogue to re­ceive fuel, which it can do at a rate of up to 300 gal­lons per minute. AFP

U.S. still has around 14K troops in Afghanistan

REUTERS

FILE PIC: AFP

US Ma­rine Corps F-18 fighter in­vloved in the crash.

The U.S. Ma­rine Corps said that the crash in­volved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 re­fu­el­ing air­craft dur­ing reg­u­lar train­ing near Hiroshima in west­ern Ja­pan. The in­ci­dent comes a month af­ter an F/A-18E Su­per Hor­net crashed af­ter tak­ing off from the flight deck of USS Ronald Rea­gan.

Pak­istan’s army spokesman, Ma­jor-Gen­eral Asif Ghafoor.

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