US Marine dead, 5 missing in Japan crash

US and Japanese authorities are searching for five US Marines after a mid-air collision off Japan.
US and Japanese authorities are searching for five US Marines after a mid-air collision off Japan.

One US Marine has been killed and rescue teams are searching for five others after two Marine Corps aircraft collided in mid-air and crashed into the sea off the coast of Japan.

Japanese and American officials say they have so far found two of the seven Marines who were aboard the F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet and KC-130 Hercules, which crashed during a refuelling exercise.

"One of the recovered Marines is in fair condition and the other has been declared deceased by competent medical personnel," a US Marine Corps statement said on Thursday.

US President Donald Trump expressed gratitude to Japan for its quick assistance with search and rescue efforts.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the @USMC (US Marine Corps) crew members who were involved in a mid-air collision off the coast of Japan," he tweeted.

The incident occurred around 2am local time in Japan, about 320km off the Japanese coast.

The Marine Corps said the aircraft were conducting routine training at the time, including refuelling training.

A US Navy P-8A patrol and surveillance aircraft was helping in search and rescue efforts along with Japanese authorities, the Marine Corps said, adding that the incident was under investigation.

Australian Associated Press