Marine Planes Crash Off Japan Coast, Search and Rescue Underway

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Two United States Marine aircraft are reported to have crashed off the coast of Japan today.

Six U.S. military personnel were missing following a still-unexplained mishap off the coast of Japan on Thursday involving two U.S. Marine Corps aircraft, which may have crashed in mid-air, U.S. officials said.

The US has more than 50,000 troops stationed in Japan, more than 18,000 of them in the US Marine Corps.

A spokesman for Japan's Self-Defense Forces said that one of the airmen had been rescued but the immediate fate of the remaining crew members was unclear.

"The aircraft involved in the mishap had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred", the Marine Corps Base Camp Butler statement read.

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Japanese aircraft were taking part in the search effort, according to the Marines.

United States media reported five crew were on the C-130 and two on the F-18.

"The circumstances of the mishap are now under investigation", the statement said.

More than 50,000 USA troops are based in Japan under the bilateral security pact. It was unclear if USA military officials were also assisting with the search.

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