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Two U.S. military planes crash during aerial refuelling off Japan

Two U.S. military aircraft have crashed during a midair refuelling operation off Japan. An F/A-18 (unspecified variant) and a C-130 crashed into the sea with a total of seven crewmembers on board. The reports suggest the F/A-18 is a two-seat variant and five other crew members were on board the C-130.  Both aircraft crashed into the sea about 300km out from their base at Iwakuni.

The incident happened about 2 am local time. A US official reports Japanese search and rescue teams have pulled one of the missing Marines from the water, alive. The rescued Marine, who ejected from the fighter, is being treated by medical personnel at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.

The search for the remaining six is ongoing. “US military and the Japanese Self-Defense planes and vessels are searching for those still missing… I hope all the members will be rescued safely as soon as possible,” Japan’s defence minister Takeshi Iwaya said.

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