Two Marine Corps Aircraft Crash Off Japan, Fate Of Those Onboard Unknown

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Six U.S. military personnel were missing following a still-unexplained mishap off the coast of Japan on Thursday involving two U.S. Marine Corps aircraft, which may have crashed in mid-air, U.S. officials said.

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

A US official told Fox News that seven Marines were on board the two aircraft. It was not clear how many crew members were on each of the planes.

Search and rescue operations are underway.

The statement added that the incident was under investigation.

ABC News reported that a total of seven people were thought to be on the two aircraft.

Marine Corps two F  A-18D Hornets with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 approach a KC-130J with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 during a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force

The Marines' statement also indicates that Japanese planes have joined in the search efforts.

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

In November, a United States navy fighter jet crashed into the sea off Japan's southern island of Okinawa and its 2 crew members were rescued alive.

U.S. media say the two planes crashed during midair refuelling but this has not been officially confirmed.

Those incidents have stoked tensions between close military allies Washington and Tokyo and led to protests against the deployment of Ospreys by residents living near USA bases.

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