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Search for missing Marines continues days after deadly fighter-tanker collision in Japan

U.S. Air Force pararescue specialists with the 31st Rescue Squadron from Kadena Air Base, Japan, deploy a rescue boat for a combat search and rescue training mission during exercise Keen Sword 19, near Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 19, 2018. (Senior Airman Sadie Colbert/U.S. Air Force)

The search for five Marines who went missing early Thursday after their KC-130 Hercules aerial tanker collided midair with an F/A-18 Hornet has moved into its third day in Japan.

Search-and-rescue teams continued their work Saturday with a group similar in size and composition to Friday’s multinational, multiservice effort, according to a statement from Japan’s Defense Ministry.

The two Marines aboard the Hornet were recovered Thursday. The first, who was picked that morning by a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter, is in fair condition, U.S. and Japanese officials said.

The second, Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard, 28, was pronounced dead after being found just after noon by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Setoyuki.

Both Marines where flying with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 out of MCAS Iwakuni when the aircraft collided just before 2 a.m. Thursday during “regularly scheduled training” that included aerial refueling, the Marine Corps said.

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Search-and-rescue teams from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Japan Coast Guard and three JMSDF ships have continued to look for the KC-130 crew from Iwakuni’s Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152.

Air Force special operators from the 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, have been assisting the search using CV-22 Ospreys, and the 374th Airlift Wing from Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo launched several C-130 missions as well.

First Lt. Renee Douglas, 353rd SOG spokeswoman, told Stars and Stripes on Friday that the airmen were “working to provide 24-hour coverage to the search area.”

Both aircraft involved in the incident are from MCAS Iwakuni, which is home to Marine Air Craft Group 12 and the Navy’s Carrier Air Wing 5. It is one of the Pacific’s largest air stations.

Marine officials are investigating the cause of the collision.

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

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