Two US Marine Aircraft Collide While Refueling Off Japan

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Two US Marines aircraft have been involved in a "mishap" in the skies off the coast of Japan, leaving seven US military personnel missing, officials said on Wednesday.

A U.S. defense official told AFP there had been a crash after the plane took off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in southern Japan.

The aircraft are a KC-130 refuelling plane and an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet.

Search and rescue operations were underway following a "mishap".

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Japan's Defense Ministry said the two aircraft carrying seven crew members altogether had collided midair and crashed into the sea about 100 kilometers south of the Muroto cape in Kochi Prefecture. The reports suggest the F/A-18 is a two-seat variant and five other crewmembers were on board the C-130.

The military did not release the circumstances of the crash, saying the accident was still under investigation.

Japanese search and rescue aircraft have responded to the incident.

The aircraft involved had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regularly scheduled training.

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