Search under way after USA military planes collide off Japan

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

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

Meanwhile, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has expressed its regret over the crash of two United States military aircraft off the coast of the Japanese Kochi prefecture and asked the USA authorities to provide Tokyo with details on the mishap, local media reported on Thursday.

Six Marines are missing after a Marine Corps KC-130 aerial tanker and an F/A-18 Hornet have crashed off Japan, officials announced on Wednesday.

The crew member was being assessed by doctors, the Marine statement said, adding that "the search and rescue operations continue for the remaining six".

U.S. media also reported five crew on the C-130 and two on the F-18.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew members in stable condition.

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The Marine Corps says the incident involved an F/A-18 jet and a refueling plane that had taken off from a base on Okinawa for a regularly scheduled training mission.

Japan's Defense Ministry said the aircraft carrying seven crew members in total collided and crashed into the sea south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan.

The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the USA military deployed to and near Japan.

The US military has also experienced difficulties with its Osprey helicopters, with several emergency landings, a deadly crash and a piece of the chopper falling on the grounds of a Japanese school.

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