Search and rescue operations continued Thursday off the coast of Japan for the crew members of a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130 refueling tanker and an F/A-18 fighter jet involved in a mishap, according to the Marines.
Two crew members were found by Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces, which was leading search and rescue efforts with both surface ships and aircraft, a spokesperson for III Marine Expeditionary Force in Japan. The first person was in good condition, officials said, but Thursday they confirmed that the second crew member has been declared deceased by medical personnel.
There were five personnel on board the KC-130 and two on board the F/A-18 at the time of the incident, a Marine official told ABC News.
“The aircraft involved in the mishap had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred,” according to a Marine Corps Base Camp Butler statement on Wednesday.
The incident occurred about 200 miles off the coast of Iwakuni at 2 a.m. on Thursday, or about noon Wednesday, Eastern Standard Time.
The circumstances of the mishap were under investigation and no other information was available, according to the statement.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump offered thoughts and prayers to the crew members and thanked Japan for their “immediate response and rescue efforts.
“Whatever you need, we are here for you,” the tweet added.
My thoughts and prayers are with the @USMC crew members who were involved in a mid-air collision off the coast of Japan. Thank you to @USForcesJapan for their immediate response and rescue efforts. Whatever you need, we are here for you. @IIIMEF
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2018
The last major U.S. military aircraft incident occurred in May when an Air National Guard C-130 cargo plane crashed outside Savannah, killing all nine personnel on board. A recent investigation determined that crash was due in part to pilot error.
Late Wednesday, the Marines released the investigation into another deadly crash – a KC-130 that went down n Leflore County, Mississippi in August 2017, killing 15 Marines and 1 sailor on board.
It found that a propeller became dislodged and went into the aircraft’s fuselage.
“The investigation determined that the aircraft’s propeller did not receive proper depot-level maintenance during its last overhaul in September 2011, which missed corrosion that may have contributed to the propeller blade liberating in-flight,” a press release from the Marines said.