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story.lead_photo.caption This July, 2014, photo shows a U.S. Marine Corps' KC-130 refueling plane in Ginowan city, Okinawa, southwestern Japan. A search is under way off for crew members from two Marine Corps planes, a F/A-18 and a refueling plane, involved in what officials called a "mishap" off the coast of Japan, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (Yuki Sato/Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO -- A Marine refueling plane and a fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan's southwestern coast after a midair collision early today, and rescuers found one of the seven crew members in stable condition while searching for the others, officials said.

Japan's Defense Ministry later said a second crew member had been found. The crew member's condition was unknown.

The U.S. Marine Corps said that the 2 a.m. crash involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refueling aircraft during regular training after the planes took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima in western Japan.

The crash took place 200 miles off the coast.

Japan's Defense Ministry said the aircraft carrying seven crew members in total collided and crashed into the sea south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew members in stable condition. The Marine Corps said the rescued crewman was taken to a hospital at its base in Iwakuni and was being treated but did not provide any other details.

The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.

Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan's southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.

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

A Section on 12/06/2018

Print Headline: U.S. military planes collide off Japan; 5 crewmen missing

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