Published: Tue, December 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

US Marines: Five missing after Japan crash declared dead

US Marines: Five missing after Japan crash declared dead

It said in a statement that the identities of the five people declared dead will be released after their next of kin are notified.

Japan has ended its search for five U.S. marines who went missing after a suspected mid-air collision involving a fighter jet and a refuelling aircraft.

"Every possible effort was made to recover our crew and I hope the families of these selfless Americans will find comfort in the incredible efforts made by US, Japanese, and Australian forces during the search", the commander of the expeditionary force, Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith, said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Four hours after the mishap, one of the two pilots aboard the fighter jet was rescued by the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces.

U.S. forced based in or near Japan have been involved in other serious accidents in recent years.

Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee as part of an investigation into the series of fatal crashes and collisions at sea, the Navy's No. 2 officer, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran, said the Navy was trying to do too much with too little. "The change in status comes at the conclusion of search and rescue operations".

"I am incredibly proud of and grateful for the efforts of the us military along with our Japanese and Australian partners", Martinez added.

The Marine Corps has not confirmed that an aerial refueling was in progress at the time of the mishap. "Japan-U.S. alliance is supported by the dedication of each U.S. military personnel, and I offer my heartfelt condolences to the victims". "We know this hard decision was made after all resources were exhausted in the vigorous search for the Marines".

The announcement brings the final toll in the December 6 crash to six, with a seventh crew member rescued after the incident. "Our thoughts are heavy and our prayers are with all family and friends of all five aircrew".

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

USA and Japanese ships and aircraft did not, however, locate the crew of the Hercules.

In November, a USA navy fighter jet crashed into the sea off Japan's southern island of Okinawa.

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