U.S. war­planes col­lide off Ja­pan; 1 dead, 5 miss­ing

The Maui News - - TODAY’S PEOPLE -

TOKYO (AP) — 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 near Hiroshima. The five oth­ers were in the KC-130.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted that his thoughts and prayers are with the Ma­rine Corps crew mem­bers in­volved in the col­li­sion. He thanked the 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 200 miles off the coast, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. mil­i­tary. Ja­panese of­fi­cials said it oc­curred closer to the coast, about 60 miles, 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.

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 in­juries to a dozen sailors.

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

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