U.S. Marines missing after mid-air collision off coast of Japan

TOKYO, Japan (NBCNC) – Rescuers are searching for five missing U.S. Marines after a pair of American warplanes collided in midair during a refueling exercise off the coast of Japan.

Two Marines were pulled from the sea, but one of them later died.

Multiple rescue ships racing against time in the sea off Japan with five marines still missing Thursday morning.

The U.S. Ambassador heard the news at an event in Japan. “My heart goes out to the families and the colleagues of the marines that were involved in this tragedy,” said Ambassador William Hagerty.

Two planes were conducting “regularly scheduled training,” the U.S. military said, calling the accident a “mishap” but not giving more details about what happened.

Both planes had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan, they crashed approximately 55-nautical miles off the coast.

At 2:00 a.m. local time the Kc-130J, which often provides refueling support, went down along with an F/A 18 Hornet.

Refueling operations are a standard military procedure. A hose trails from the tanker aircraft as the combat jet receives the fuel at up to 3000 pounds-per-minute.

The cause of this crash still very much unclear.

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