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Search continues for missing US Marines following midair plane collision off coast of Japan


Two crew members have been rescued, but one has since died; five Marines remain unaccounted for

A US Navy FA-18 Super Hornet connects to a KC-135 air refuelling tanker. (TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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.

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.

Anything else?

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."

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