Marine rescued after 2 military aircraft crash off coast of Japan

A US Marine Corps F-18 fighter takes off from the NATO military base in Aviano Italy

Japan's Defense Ministry said the aircraft collided midair and crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 60 miles south of Muroto Cape on Shikoku Island, according to The Associated Press.

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

Two Marine Corps aircraft went down in the waters off the coast of Japan early Thursday morning local time and a search is underway for the pilots and those on board.

The Marine Corps said Japanese search-and-rescue aircraft immediately responded to aid in recovery efforts.

The KC-130 is an extended-range tanker version of the C-130 and is used for mid-air refuelling. Officials later announced on Twitter that the person rescued was being evaluated as the search for the six missing Marines continues.

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Rescuers found one of seven crew members, who were on-board the plans, in a stable condition and are still searching for the others, officials said.

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

Five marines were reportedly aboard the KC-130 Hercules and 2 flying the F/A-18 fighter jet, which was being refuelled.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo says that air-to-air refuelling is a hard and potentially risky flight operation, especially when done at night.

The US has more than 50,000 troops stationed in Japan, more than 18,000 of them in the US Marine Corps.

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