US Marine aircraft suffer 'mishap' off Japanese coast, search-and-rescue underway

2 US warplanes crash off Japan coast rescue under way

2 US warplanes crash off Japan coast rescue under way

Reports on Twitter indicate that two US military aircraft have crashed during a midair refueling operation off Iwakuni, Japan.

A US Marine Corps F-18 fighter takes off from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military base in Aviano, Italy.

Two United States Marine aircraft are reported to have crashed off the coast of Japan today.

Japan's Defense Ministry said the two aircraft carrying seven crew members in total collided and crashed into the sea about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan.

The crew member was being assessed by doctors, the Marine statement said, adding that "the search and rescue operations continue for the remaining six".

Japanese aircraft were taking part in the search effort, according to the Marines.

"The circumstances of the mishap are now under investigation", the statement said.

United States officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, said one of the aircraft was an F/A 18 fighter jet while the other was a KC-130 refuelling aircraft, with a combined total of seven personnel aboard.

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

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

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