The U.S. military said Thursday that one Marine was killed and five others were missing after two military aircraft collided in midair off the Japanese coast and crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
The deceased was one of two pilots from an F/A-18 fighter jet that was training with a KC-130 refueling plane, officials said. The other pilot was recovered and was in fair condition, the Marine Corps said.
Rescue operations continued for the five crewmen of the KC-130.
The accident occurred early Thursday about 320 kilometers off Japan's southwestern coast.
The Marines took off from their base in Iwakuni on a routine refueling training mission, according to the Marine Corps. The collision took place near Muroto Cape on Shikoku island, according to a statement from Japan's defense ministry.
The ministry said a search-and-rescue operation launched by its maritime forces shortly after the crash found the surviving F/A-18 pilot within several hours.
U.S. President Donald Trump said his thoughts and prayers were with those involved involved in the crash:
My thoughts and prayers are with the @USMC crew members who were involved in a mid-air collision off the coast of Japan. Thank you to @USForcesJapan for their immediate response and rescue efforts. Whatever you need, we are here for you. @IIIMEF— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2018
The cause of the collision was under investigation.
Thursday's incident was the latest of a string of accidents involving U.S. military aircraft deployed to Japan. Last month, two crew members of a U.S. Navy fighter jet were rescued when their plane crashed into the sea off the southern island of Okinawa. Also, parts from some U.S. military aircraft have fallen into neighborhoods.
The American military presence on Okinawa has irritated Japanese civilians on the island and created tension in the otherwise warm relations between the U.S. and Japanese militaries.
Crimes have been committed by U.S. servicemen on Okinawa, including rapes and drunken-driving incidents.?