Search crews continued to seek survivors early Thursday from two U.S. Marine Corps planes that collided midair off the coast of Japan. Five crew members were reported to be missing after the incident, which U.S. officials said involved a KC-130 refueling tanker and an F/A-18 fighter jet. It was unclear if the planes were performing a refueling exercise at the time. One crew member from the fighter jet was said to be in stable condition after being rescued by Japanese military personnel; a second was reported to be pulled from the water and transferred to a mainland hospital. Bad weather was reported to be a factor, as a storm with high winds and heavy rain was impeding the search. U.S. officials said an investigation has been launched. The incident comes after a spate of accidents involving U.S. military aircraft. The findings of a Marine Corps investigation released on Wednesday into the deadliest of those accidents—a KC-130T plane crash that killed 15 Marines last summer—reportedly found that neglect by the Air Force had allowed a “deteriorating propeller blade” on the aircraft to go unfixed before the crash.
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