Two US Marine planes crash while refueling off Japan
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Two US Marine planes crash while refueling off Japan

Search and rescue efforts underway for seven missing crew members after F-18 collides with C-130 tanker

Illustrative: A Marine F-18 "Super Hornet" taxies as a AH-1 Cobra helicopter lands at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland Saturday, June 16, 2012 as part of Marine Week in the city. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Illustrative: A Marine F-18 "Super Hornet" taxies as a AH-1 Cobra helicopter lands at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland Saturday, June 16, 2012 as part of Marine Week in the city. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

WASHINGTON — Two US Marine Corps aircraft crashed during a refueling operation off the coast of Japan, a US defense official told AFP on Wednesday.

The planes involved were an F-18 fighter and a C-130 tanker, the official said. Searches were underway for the seven crew members.

In a statement, the Marine Corps said the planes had taken off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in southern Japan.

Search and rescue operations were underway following a “mishap.”

The planes “were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred,” the statement said.

US media reported five crew were on the C-130 and two on the F-18.

Second Lieutenant Alyssa Morales, a spokeswoman for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based in Okinawa, told military news site Task and Purpose that one of the Marines had been rescued alive, but this could not be immediately confirmed.

The US military has about 50,000 troops stationed in Japan.

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