Five Marines missing, two rescued after crash into sea

Five U.S. Marines are missing and two have been rescued after two aircraft collided Thursday near Japan and crashed into the ocean, the Marine Corps and Japanese officials said.

The Marine base in Okinawa, Japan, said in a statement Thursday that search and rescue operations were underway for aircraft "that were involved in a mishap approximately 200 miles off of the coast of Japan" around 2 a.m. Thursday.

The Marine base added that the crash happened during "regularly scheduled training."


Seven Marines were aboard the two aircraft when they collided, and two of them have so far been found. One of the Marines who was rescued is in fair condition and the other is being evaluated, the Marines said.

The Marines said that U.S. and Japanese forces are working together to search for the remaining Marines.

Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya called the crash "regrettable" during a news conference Thursday.

“The incident is regrettable, but our focus at the moment is on search and rescue,” Iwaya said, according to Reuters. “Japan will respond appropriately once the details of the incident are uncovered.”

The incident is the latest in a growing number of U.S. military aviation crashes, with the Military Times reporting earlier this year that the number of accidents involving U.S. military aircraft rose almost 40 percent between fiscal 2013 and 2017.