Search underway for missing Marines following mishap involving two aircraft – Washington Post
Two U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets and a KC-130J Hercules fly during a demonstration over Detroit in September 2017. A mishap between a Hornet and Hercules near Japan early Dec. 6 has prompted a search for missing Marines. (Sgt. Gregory Boyd/U.S. Marine Corps.)
Reporter covering the Pentagon and the U.S. military
December 5 at 5:31 PM
U.S. Marines and Japanese authorities were searching Thursday about 200 miles off the coast of Japan for five Marines after a mishap involving a fighter jet and a plane that was intended to refuel it, Marine officials said early Thursday.
Two additional Marines have been rescued from the water, officials said in a statement. One was in fair condition and one was in a hospital for evaluation. The service did not clarify in the statement from which aircraft the rescued Marines were in, but the fighter jet is equipped with ejection seats and the tanker plane is not.
The incident occurred about 2 a.m. after the planes took off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan, officials said. The aircraft — an F/A-18 Hornet and a KC-130 Hercules — were conducting “regularly scheduled training” at the time, and Japanese authorities immediately launched search-and-rescue aircraft.
“The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation,” the statement said.
It was not clear immediately clear if the aircraft collided, or if something involving the refueling system itself sparked the mishap. Aerial refueling with the KC-130 calls for another aircraft to pull slightly below and behind the tanker plane, with hoses eventually extended from the KC-130. It can carry 3,600-gallon stainless steel refueling tanks on its wings or inside the fuselage, or share fuel from its own fuel tanks.
The Marine Corps announced Wednesday night that an investigation into the crash in Mississippi found that an “in-flight departure” of one of the plane’s propellers from a wing and into the aircraft’s fuselage caused the disaster.
“The investigation determined that the aircraft’s propeller did not receive proper depot-level maintenance during its last overhaul in September 2011, which missed corrosion that may have contributed to the propeller blade liberating in-flight,” the service said in a news release.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect accurate details about refueling.
This story was first published Wednesday night in Washington and has been updated several times with additional information.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.