Search under way after US military planes collide off Japan

The Latest President lauds rescue efforts after Japan crash

US Marine aircraft suffer 'mishap' off Japanese coast, search-and-rescue underway

Both aircraft are reported to have crashed into the water.

Two U.S. Marine aircraft apparently crashed early Thursday, leaving six service members missing after one was rescued off the coast of southern Japan as search and rescue operations continued.

Japan's defense ministry said that its maritime forces had so far rescued one of the seven Marines who were aboard the two aircraft at the time of the incident.

The crash happened at 2am local time (5pm yesterday GMT) during regularly scheduled training, according to the Marine Corps.

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Japanese search-and-rescue aircraft immediately responded to the emergency, the Marine Corps statement said.

The Marines' statement also indicates that Japanese planes have joined in the search efforts.

A Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 224 F/A-18 Hornet conducts an aerial refuel utilizing a KC-130J in coorlation with Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course in Yuma, Ariz., April 10.

Anonymous US officials said they were unsure how the mishap may have occurred, but none suspected foul play.

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

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo says that air-to-air refuelling is a hard and potentially unsafe flight operation, especially when done at night.

The US military has about 50,000 troops stationed in Japan.

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