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By Doha Madani, Hans Nichols and Mosheh Gains
At least one Marine has been rescued from waters 200 miles off the coast of Japan after two aircraft carrying seven were involved in a refueling accident.
“We are still searching for six Marines,” Lt. Col. Kelly Frushour of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force told NBC News.
A search and rescue operation got underway immediately after a KC-130, an extended-range tanker, and a F/A-18, a combat jet, had the accident early Thursday morning in Japan local time.
Five Marines were believed to be aboard the KC-130 and two on the F/A-18 when the mishap occurred, according to a military official.
The one Marine had been found alive by about 9 a.m. local time. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force found him off the coast of Iwakuni, Frushour confirmed to NBC News.
The aircraft launched from the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan for a regularly scheduled training exercise.