Five missing US Marines declared dead after air crash off Japanese coast


Five missing US Marines declared dead after Air Crash Off Japanese Coast PHOTO/VOA
Five missing US Marines declared dead after Air Crash Off Japanese Coast PHOTO/VOA

Nearly a week after two U.S. Marine Corps aircraft collided in mid-air off the Japanese coast and crashed in the Pacific Ocean, the search for five missing crew members have been called off.

All five Marines have been declared dead.

The tragedy occurred last Thursday as an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refueling plane were taking part in a routine refueling training mission near Muroto Cape on Shikoku island. Two pilots of the F/A-18 fighter jet were rescued after the accident, but one of them later died. The five other Marines were all aboard the KC-130 tanker.

Both crews were based at Iwakuni air station near Hiroshima. The cause of the collision remains under investigation.

The incident is the latest in 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 alive when their plane crashed into the sea off the southern island of Okinawa.

The American military presence on Okinawa has irked Japanese civilians on the island and created tension in the otherwise warm relations between the U.S. and Japanese militaries.

Other accidents involving the U.S. military include parts falling off aircraft into nearby neighborhoods.

Crimes also have been committed by U.S. servicemen on Okinawa, including rapes, fights and drunk-driving incidents.

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