Two US Marine planes crash while refueling off Japan

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Two American warplanes crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan's southwestern coast after a midair collision early Thursday, and rescuers found one of the seven crew members in stable condition while searching for the others, officials said.

The planes involved are a KC-130 and an F/A 18, carrying a total of seven personnel, United States media quoted officials as saying. Officials said the information was provided by the US side.

The C-130 was thought to be carrying 5 servicemen and the F-18 two, said the Japanese official, who added that Japan had scrambled 4 aircraft and 3 ships in the search.

A Facebook posting by the III Marine Expeditionary Force said the incident took place 200 miles (320km) off the coast.

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The aircraft had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regular training when there was a "mishap", the Marine Corps said.

The Marines' statement also indicates that Japanese planes have joined in the search efforts.

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

The aircraft had taken off from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan at around 2am local time.

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