Rescue efforts are underway for US military personnel off Japan following a "mishap" between a US Marine Corps FA-18/D Hornet and a KC-130J tanker.
According to a Marine official quoted by USNI News, the two aircraft were involved in a collision during a mid-air refuelling, as part of training flights run from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan's south-west.
Japanese search and rescue assets were launched at roughly 4 am AEDT, 2 am local time. No official information is currently available on how many personnel were involved.
"Search and rescue operations continue for U.S. Marine aircraft that were involved in a mishap off of the coast of Japan around 2:00 a.m. Dec. 6," a Marine Corps statement said.
"Japanese search and rescue aircraft immediately responded to aid in recovery.
"The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation. There is no additional information available at this time."
ADM will provide more information as it becomes available.
One F/A-18 pilot is confirmed to have died in the incident. In a statement, the Marines Corps said CAPT Jahmar Resilard, 28, “was pronounced deceased after he was found during search and rescue operations off the coast of Kochi, Japan on Dec. 6."
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of CAPT Jahmar Resilard. He was an effective and dedicated leader who cared for his Marines and fellow fighter pilots with passion,” LTCOL James Compton said.
The second Marine aboard the Hornet is in a "fair condition" in hospital. The five Marines aboard the KC-130J are still missing. The cause of the crash remains unknown.