Home » Aviation » UPDATED: 1 Rescued Alive After Marine Corps F-18, KC-130J Crash Off the Coast of Japan


UPDATED: 1 Rescued Alive After Marine Corps F-18, KC-130J Crash Off the Coast of Japan

An F/A-18D Hornet with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242 and a KC-130J Hercules with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152 conduct simulated aerial refueling during the 41st Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force – Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Friendship Day at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, May 5, 2017. US Marine Corps photo.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

Two Marine Corps aircraft have been involved in a mishap off the coast of Japan, according to a Marine Corps news release. 

Around 2 a.m. local time on Dec. 6 (noon on Dec. 5 in Washington) a two-seat F/A-18D Hornet and a KC-130J tanker with five personnel onboard were involved in a collision about 200 miles off the coast of Iwakuni.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel conducting search and rescue efforts have so far rescued one of the seven Marine Corps personnel alive, III Marine Expeditionary Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Kelly Frushour told USNI News.

The aircraft involved in the mishap left from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting routine training when the mishap occurred.

Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) is stationed at MCAS Iwakuni and comprises Hornet squadron Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMFA-242) and KC-130J squadron Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), as well as F-35B Joint Strike Fighter squadron Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121), Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 (MALS-12) and aviation ground support unit Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 (MWSS-171).

The following is the complete U.S. Marine Corps news release:

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan – Search and rescue operations continue for U.S. Marine Corps aircraft that were involved in a mishap off of the coast of Japan around 2:00 a.m. Dec. 6.

The aircraft involved in the mishap, a KC-130 and an F/A-18, had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred.

Japanese search and rescue aircraft immediately responded to aid in recovery.

The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation. There is no additional information available at this time.

  • NavySubNuke

    Glad to hear at least one of them has been found. My prayers go out for the remaining missing and I sincerely hope that they found a way to get out of their craft in time.

    • RedWolfeXR

      Almost certainly the pilot of the F/A18 — he was the only one sitting in an ejection system with locators. Indeed, hopefully the Herc crew made it out as well.

      • NavySubNuke

        That is my speculation as well unfortunately.

  • Curtis Conway

    Fox News put out “A second crew member has been found in the Pacific Ocean near Japan where two Marine Corps aircraft collided while refueling in mid-air early Thursday during a training exercise, a Marine Corps spokesman confirmed to Fox News, as five others still remain missing.” Looks like the F/A-18D crew.

  • George Hollingsworth

    The accident occurred 200 miles offshore at 2 am local time according to another article. Both aircraft reportedly were from MCAS Iwakuni base in Japan.

  • publius_maximus_III

    The long-awaited report on the USMC KC-130T crash in MS on 7/10/2017 (an older version of the same plane) was finally released to the public on Wednesday, after an 18-month wait. The cause of the crash was poor maintenance practices, resulting in a failure to detect a deteriorating propeller blade during inspections some six years prior to the crash. The liberated blade completely severed the aircraft in two, just forward of the wings, killing all on board.

    • George Hollingsworth

      It should be noted that the error occurred during overhaul of the propeller at the depot level, not at the squadron or wing maintenance level