6 missing after US aircraft crash off Japan

One of the aircraft involved was an F/A 18 fighter jet. Photo: Getty Images
One of the aircraft involved was an F/A 18 fighter jet. Photo: Getty Images

Six military personnel are missing after a mishap off the coast of Japan involving two US Marine Corps aircraft, which may have crashed in mid-air, officials say.

Japan's defence ministry said that its maritime forces had rescued one person. Search and rescue efforts are continuing.

The Marine Corps said in a short statement the incident happened at 2am (local time) in Japan on Thursday.

The aircraft had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regular training when there was a "mishap," the Marine Corps said.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one of the aircraft was an F/A 18 fighter jet, while the other was a KC-130 refuelling aircraft, with a combined total of seven personnel aboard.

A second official confirmed that only one person had been rescued so far.

Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity were unsure how the mishap may have occurred and whether it happened during refuelling but none suspected foul play.

An investigation has begun.

The Marine Corps said Japanese search and rescue aircraft immediately responded to aid in recovery efforts. It was unclear if US military officials were also assisting with the search.

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