5 remaining Marines from aviation mishap declared dead, search ends

U.S. military ends search for five Marines missing off JapanMore

U.S. military ends search for five Marines missing off JapanMore

The US marines declared the missing men dead, nearly a week after an FA-18 Hornet fighter jet and KC-130 Hercules tanker plane collided before crashing into the Pacific about 200 miles off Koichi prefecture in western Japan.

Smith said the KC-130's flight data and cockpit voice recorders had not been located, "making it premature to speculate about wreckage recovery".

One of the two Hornet pilots found by search and rescue teams died.

The US military has described the crash as a class A incident - the most serious of its kind.

USA and Japanese ships and aircraft did not, however, locate the crew of the Hercules.

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The U.S. Marines said the cause of the crash is now under investigation, but noted that it is unclear if aerial refueling was ongoing when the accident occurred.

The planes had taken off from an air station at Iwakuni, west of Hiroshima, at around 2am local time last Wednesday and were conducting regularly scheduled training exercises when a "mishap" occurred.

The hard refueling maneuver would have been complicated by little sunlight and the weather at the time.

The five missing crew of a KC-130 Hercules refuelling plane were officially declared deceased. An extendable nozzle is then "plugged-in" to allow fuel to flow.

The U.S. military ended a search on Tuesday for five Marines missing in the sea off Japan since two Marine Corps aircraft were involved in an accident during an air-to-air refuelling exercise on December 6. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.

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