Tokyo [Japan], Dec 11 (ANI): Almost a week after two Marine planes crashed off the coast of Japan, the United States military called off the search and rescue operation, declaring five marines dead.
According to Defence officials, five individuals were aboard a KC-130aircraft, while two persons were onboard an F/A 18. Two Marines were rescued, one of whom was subsequently declared dead, bringing the total death toll to six.
The Washington Post quoted Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, commander of the III Marine Expeditionary Force as saying, "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."
The Marine Corps stated that the circumstances of the accident are being investigated.
In a statement issued by the Marine Corps, it was revealed that the aircraft was conducting regularly scheduled training. They further stated that the cause of the accident is not yet confirmed however, it was initially speculated that the mishap occurred during the aerial refuelling.
"The Marine Corps rigorously investigates all aviation mishaps to identify the causes, learn from them, and mitigate future incidents," the Marine Corps stated. (ANI)