Two US Marine planes crash while refueling off Japan

A U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules pilot and aircraft commander with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 based out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni pilots a KC-130J Hercules during a nighttime aerial refueling training operation Oct. 26 2

USA military accidents are a sensitive topic in Japan, particularly for residents of the southern prefecture of Okinawa, which is home to the bulk of the US presence in the country.

A search and rescue operation is under way in Japan after an incident involving two US Marine Corps aircraft.

ABC News reported that a total of seven people were thought to be on the two aircraft.

The Marine Corps tweeted that the incident occurred at about 02:00 on Thursday (17:00 GMT Wednesday). The aircraft - an F/A-18 Hornet and a KC-130 Hercules - were involved in "regularly scheduled training" at the time, and Japanese authorities immediately launched search-and-rescue aircraft afterward.

The Marines did not release details of the punishment given to the pilots because the discipline was administrative in nature, according to The Hill.

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The Marines' statement also indicates that Japanese planes have joined in the search efforts. Search and rescue operations were underway at the scene.

An anonymous USA official said that one of the aircrafts was an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. Japanese officials said two crew members were on FA-18, and five others on KC-130.

The incident is under investigation, the Marine Corps said.

However, refueling is a risky operation, Baker said.

The US military has about 50,000 troops stationed in Japan and accidents are not uncommon.

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