Rescuers are searching for five United States Marines still missing after a refueling plane and a fighter jet collided off the coast of Japan during a training exercise early Thursday. Two crew members have already been found, but one of them has since died due to their injuries.
What are the details?
Around 2 a.m. Thursday morning, an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refueling aircraft crashed roughly 200 miles from land, in an incident the Marine Corps is referring to as a mishap.
Search and rescue operations continue for a KC-130 and an F/A-18 that were involved in a mishap off of the coast of Japan around 2:00 a.m. Dec. 6.
The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation.
Media can contact @IIIMEF at IIIMEFMEDIA@usmc.mil.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) December 5, 2018
Marines spokesman Maj. Eric Flanagan told Fox News, "As to what was taking place when the mishap occurred, that is under investigation."
One crew member was rescued from the water Thursday morning, and a second was found in the afternoon. One of the rescued Marines has passed away due to their injuries, the Marine Corps confirmed.
***UPDATE*** (2300/Dec 6,2018)
The United States Marine Corps confirms that two Marines have been found. One is in fair condition and the other has been declared deceased by competent medical personnel. For more information visit https://t.co/B0VqVdOcMI
— III MEF Marines (@IIIMEF) December 6, 2018
Ongoing search and rescue efforts continue for the remaining five crew members still missing, with the U.S. 7th Fleet, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Coast Guard all working to find the Marines.
According to a six-month investigation conducted by Military Times earlier this year, accidents involving U.S. military warplanes increased 40 percent from 2013 to 2017.
That report attributed partial blame to congressional budget cuts in 2013. Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the outlet that once those cuts were enforced on the Pentagon, "We stopped training for months. Of course, all of that affected readiness. It's had an impact on every part of our defense enterprise. And that means, surely, accidents."