Details of five missing US Marines after two air craft collision

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A KC-130

Exercise can sometimes turn tragic in unforeseen circumstances.The security of some soldiers is currently worrying their state and families after two air crafts collided and crashed into the sea.

A big search and rescue operation is continuing in Japan for five missing US Marines after two aircraft with seven crew collided and crashed into the sea.

One Marine was rescued and was “in fair condition”, while another one “has been declared deceased”, Marines officials said in a statement.

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The planes involved were a KC-130 and an F/A-18 based at Iwakuni near Hiroshima, south-western Japan.

US media say they crashed during a mid-air refuelling exercise.

The Marine Corps has not officially confirmed this, describing the incident as a “mishap”.

Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said Japanese aircraft and three vessels were taking part in the rescue operation.

The US 7th Fleet is supporting the operation, with navy aircraft being deployed.

A Marines statement said: “We are thankful for the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force’s efforts as they immediately responded in the search and rescue operation.”

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The Marines Corps tweeted that the incident occurred at about 02:00 local time on Thursday (17:00 GMT Wednesday).

The first Marine was rescued about four hours later, Japanese officials said, while the second was found 10 hours after the collision.

They said one of them was from the fighter jet.

There were five personnel on the C-130 and two on the F-18.

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Japan said the search operation would continue overnight, Japan’s NHK World reports.

It quoted the head of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces, Katsutoshi Kawano, as saying that search teams had spotted debris floating in the sea.

A facebook posting by the III marine expeditionary force said the incident took place 200 miles (320km) off the coast.

The US planes had taken off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and “were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred”.

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The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo says that air-to-air refuelling is a difficult and potentially dangerous flight operation, especially when done at night.

He says it is not clear what the weather conditions were like but overnight there was widespread cloud and rain across the Japanese archipelago.

The KC-130 is an extended-range tanker version of the C-130 and is used for mid-air refuelling.

The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a fighter and attack aircraft and can carry a wide range of missiles and bombs.

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