TOKYO (AP) — A Marine refueling plane and a fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan’s southwestern coast after colliding early Thursday, and rescuers found two of the seven crew members, one of them in stable condition, officials said.
The U.S. Marine Corps said that the 2 a.m. crash involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refueling aircraft during regular refueling training after the planes took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima in western Japan.
The crash took place 320 kilometers (200 miles) off the coast, according to the U.S. military. Japanese officials said it occurred closer to the coast, about 100 kilometers (60 miles), and that’s where the search and rescue mission found two crew members.
The two aircraft were carrying seven crew members in total, two in the F/A-18 and five others in the KC-130, when they collided and crashed into the sea south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Photos of the week: 11/30 – 12/7
The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried out by a military honor guard during a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
A Mandarin duck flutters in Central Park in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. In the weeks since it appeared in Central Park, the duck has become a celebrity. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Homes leveled by the Camp Fire line Valley Ridge Drive in Paradise, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in the State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying the crew formed of David Saint-Jacques of Canada, Oleg Kononenko of Russia and Anne McClain of the U.S. blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Migrants from Honduras, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, try to jump a border fence to cross illegally from Mexico to the U.S, in Tijuana, Mexico, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sully, the service dog of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush in his final months, lays in front of Bush’s casket at the George H. Lewis & Sons funeral home in Houston, Texas, U.S., December 3, 2018. Courtesy Office of George H. W. Bush-Evan Sisley/Handout via REUTERS
Boxing – Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury – WBC World Heavyweight Title – Staples Centre, Los Angeles, United States – December 1, 2018 Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury after the fight Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A damaged road is seen during a survey by the Alaska National Guard 176th Wing after an earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska, U.S. November 30, 2018. Picture taken November 30, 2018. U.S. Air National Guard/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
TIJUANA, MEXICO – DECEMBER 02: A boy cries after a chaotic crossing over the U.S.-Mexico border fence on December 2, 2018 from Tijuana, Mexico. Numerous members of the caravan were able to pass from Tijuana to San Diego and were quickly taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Most had planned to request political asylum in the United States after traveling more than 6 weeks from Central America. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 4: Former Senator Bob Dole stands up and salutes the casket of the late former President George H.W. Bush as he lies in state at the U.S. Capitol, December 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. A WWII combat veteran, Bush served as a member of Congress from Texas, ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA, vice president and 41st president of the United States. Bush will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda until Wednesday morning. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
US extreme mountain bike athlete Ray Syron takes part in the Downhill Challenge Medellin 2018 in the Comuna 13 neighbouhood in Medellin, Colombia, on December 2, 2018. – The competition in Medellin set a new Guinness World Record for the longest track of Downhill Urbano. (Photo by Camilo GIL / AFP) (Photo credit should read CAMILO GIL/AFP/Getty Images)
Ohio State NCAA college football head coach Urban Meyer, left, answers questions during a news conference announcing his retirement Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. At right is assistant coach Ryan Day. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Former President George W. Bush speaks at the State Funeral for his father, former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russ Noel, owner of Country Classic Cars, looks at one of the damaged cars, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, at Country Classic Cars near Staunton, Ill. A suspected tornado ripped through the business destroying two buildings and damaging more than 100 cars. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 03: Cher poses onstage with the cast of ‘The Cher Show’ at ‘The Cher Show’ Broadway Opening Night at Neil Simon Theatre on December 03, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for The Cher Show )
US President Donald J. Trump, with First Lady Melania Trump, salutes the casket containing the body of former US President George H.W. Bush in the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 03 December 2018. Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra and musician Nick Jonas arrive for their wedding reception in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 04: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 04, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 800 points as investors fears increased over a potential trade war between China and America. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence speaks as Former President George H. W. Bush lies in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, in Washington. Morry Gash/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 04: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a Christmas Party for families and children of deployed personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham serving in Cyprus, at Kensington Palace on December 4, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Shylah Gordon, aged 8, attach a bauble to a Christmas tree during a visit to children’s charity Coram in London, Britain, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A staff member at the poses for a photograph next to the Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City at the V&A Museum, in London, Britain, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The Special Air Mission 41 plane awaits the arrival of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush’s casket before the former president’s departure ceremony at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas, U.S., December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
SALISBURY, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE A MULTIPLE LONG EXPOSURE WAS USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS IMAGE) In this combination of two images the interior of Salisbury Cathedral is illuminated by trails of candles carried by choristers during the annual ‘darkness to light’ advent procession and a 4-metre illuminated globe called The Light by artist Richard McLester, on December 1, 2018 in Salisbury, England. The service, which begins with the medieval cathedral in total darkness and silence before the Advent Candle is lit at the West End, is one of the most popular services of the liturgical year. The annual advent service, which also takes place tonight, is seen by several thousand people, is a mix of music and readings during which two great candlelit processions move around the different spaces in the over 750-year-old building which, by the end, is illuminated by more than 1300 candles and is a spectacular start to the Christmas season. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
People walk under trees decorated with Christmas lights at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/David W Cerny TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sara Sullivan recovers a figurine from her Magalia, Calif., home, destroyed by the Camp Fire, on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
The Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew from the fighter jet in stable condition. The Marines said that the rescued crew was taken to a hospital on the base in Iwakuni, but did not provide any other details.
Details of the second crew, including his or her condition, were unknown immediately.
The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.
Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely. 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.
More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Japan under the bilateral security pact.