Five U.S. marines are still missing after two American military aircraft crashed during a refuelling operation off the coast of Japan, the Japanese defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said.
Iwaya said one crew member has been rescued and is thought to be in a stable condition.
He said efforts have been intensified to rescue the remaining victims of the crash.
A spokesman for the Japan Self-Defense Forces said another crew member had been found but there were no immediate details of the marine’s condition.
“The Marine is being transported to a local hospital for evaluation,” the U.S. military said in a statement.
“U.S. military and the Japanese Self-Defense planes and vessels are searching for those still missing… I hope all the members will be rescued safely as soon as possible,” Iwaya added.
The marines were conducting “regularly scheduled training” when the crash occurred around 2:00 am local time, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement.
The F/A-18 fighter jet with two crew onboard and a KC-130 refuelling tanker with five crew crashed into the sea around 100 kilometres (55 nautical miles) off the cape of Muroto in southwestern Japan, Iwaya said.