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Seven missing after US military aircraft 'mishap' off Japan

Seven missing after US military aircraft 'mishap' off Japan

Search and rescue operations are underway.

"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. December 6.", a Marine Corps news release said. Officials said the information was provided by the USA side.

The Marine Corps tweeted that the incident occurred at about 02:00 on Thursday (17:00 GMT Wednesday).

Japanese search-and-rescue aircraft immediately responded to the emergency, the statement added.

Search and rescue missions were being led by the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces, ABC News reported.

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The incident, which involved an F/A-18 and a KC-130 that took off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, happened about 2 a.m. during "regularly scheduled training", a Marine Corps statement said.

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 McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a fighter and attack aircraft and can carry a wide range of missiles and bombs.

A US Marine Corps F-18 fighter takes off from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military base in Aviano, Italy.