F-18 jet and tanker crash in mid-air during refuelling near Japan

Two US military aircraft have collided off the coast of Japan during refuelling, and search and rescue efforts are underway.

The crash was announced by the United States Marine Corps, and the force said Japanese search and rescue jets responded immediately to the incident.

The crash some 200 miles off the coast involved an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet made by McDonnell Douglas, and a KC-130, a refuelling plane with propellers made by Lockheed Martin.

"Search and rescue operations continue for US Marine aircraft that were involved in a mishap off of the coast of Japan around 2.00 am Dec 6," a Marine Corps news release said.

“The aircraft involved in the mishap had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred," according to the release. "Japanese search and rescue aircraft immediately responded to aid in recovery".

One crew member was recovered and is in stable condition, while the search continues for six more personnel, authorities said.

The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.

Last month, a US Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan's southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely.

In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.

More than 50,000 US troops are based in Japan under the bilateral security pact.

Additional reporting by agencies

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