Two U.S. war­planes crash off Ja­pan; one dead, five miss­ing

Texarkana Gazette - - NATION/WORLD - By Mari Ya­m­aguchi

TOKYO—One of two crew mem­bers re­cov­ered af­ter two U.S. war­planes col­lided and crashed off Ja­pan’s coast early Thurs­day is dead and five oth­ers re­main miss­ing, the U.S. mil­i­tary said.

The Ma­rine Corps said the other re­cov­ered crew mem­ber was in fair con­di­tion.

Both were in an F/A-18 Hor­net fighter jet that col­lided with a KC-130 Her­cules re­fu­el­ing air­craft dur­ing train­ing at about 2 a.m. af­ter tak­ing off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima. The five oth­ers were in the KC-130.

The Ma­rine Corps iden­ti­fied the dead crew mem­ber on Fri­day as Capt. Jah­mar Re­si­lard, 28, of Mi­ra­mar, Florida, an F/A-18 pilot with Ma­rine All Weather Fighter At­tack Squadron 242.

The Marines said in a state­ment that the two planes were in­volved in rou­tine train­ing, in­clud­ing aerial re­fu­el­ing, but that it was still in­ves­ti­gat­ing what caused the crash.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted that his thoughts and prayers were with the Ma­rine Corps crew mem­bers in­volved in the col­li­sion. He thanked U.S. Forces in Ja­pan for their “im­me­di­ate re­sponse and res­cue ef­forts” and said “What­ever you need, we are here for you.”

The crash took place 320 kilo­me­ters off the coast, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. mil­i­tary. Ja­panese of­fi­cials said it oc­curred closer to the coast, about 100 kilo­me­ters, and that’s where the search and res­cue mis­sion found the two crew mem­bers.

Ja­pan’s Mar­itime Self-De­fense Force, which dis­patched air­craft and ves­sels to join in the search op­er­a­tion, said Ja­panese res­cuers found one of the crew from the fighter jet in sta­ble con­di­tion. The Marines said the crew mem­ber was taken to a hos­pi­tal on the base in Iwakuni and was in fair con­di­tion, but did not pro­vide any other de­tails.

Ja­pan’s coast guard also joined the search.

The crash is the lat­est in re­cent se­ries of ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing the U.S. mil­i­tary de­ployed 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, 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 take­off, caus­ing non-fa­tal in­juries to a dozen sailors.

More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Ja­pan un­der a bi­lat­eral se­cu­rity pact.

Ky­odo News via AP

■ Ja­pan’s Coast Guard ship, top, and U.S. mil­i­tary plane are seen Thurs­day at sea off Kochi, south­west­ern Ja­pan, dur­ing the search and res­cue op­er­a­tion for miss­ing crew mem­bers of the U.S. Ma­rine re­fu­el­ing plane and fighter jet.

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