Five Marines missing after crash off Japan declared dead

Only one of seven Marines aboard a fuel tanker and a fighter jet that collided last week survived the accident, the corps said.
Image: A Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel and U.S. Navy airplane conduct search and rescue operation at the area where two U.S. Marine Corps aircraft have been involved in a mishap in the skies, off the coast of Kochi prefecture
A Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel and a U.S. Navy airplane conduct search for five Marines missing after two U.S. aircraft collided off Japan last week. The Marine Corps declared five missing Marines dead on Tuesday.Kyodo / Reuters

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By Alex Johnson

The Marine Corps called off the search for five Marines missing after last week's collision of two planes off Japan and said Tuesday that their families had been notified that they were dead.

The planes, a KC-130 refueling aircraft carrying five crew members and an F/A-18 fighter jet carrying two others, collided and crashed into the sea about 200 miles off the coast on Thursday, U.S. and Japanese officials said last week.

Capt. Jahmar Resilard died after two Marine aircraft collided last week off Japan. The Marine Corps declared five other missing Marines dead on Tuesday.III Marine Expeditionary Force

Two Marines were rescued, one of whom, Capt. Jahmar Resilard of Miramar, Florida, later died. Search and rescue operations continued through the weekend and into Monday, Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith, commander of U.S. Marine Forces Japan, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon (Monday night ET).

The identities of the five missing Marines weren't immediately made public, but the Marines said notification of next of kin had been completed.

"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 U.S., Japanese, and Australian forces during the search," Smith said.

The Marine Corps confirmed that the aircraft, both of which were assigned to units of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan, were conducting a training mission when the accident occurred. But contradicting earlier reports, the corps said it hadn't confirmed that they were conducting a refueling operation.

No further information was available, the Marine Corps said.