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The last major US military aircraft incident occurred in May when an Air National Guard C-130 cargo plane crashed outside Savannah, killing all nine personnel on board.

The US Marine Corps says its aircraft were involved in a "mishap" off the coast of Japan, and a search-and-rescue operation is underway.

The Marine Corps offered little information in a statement about the incident.

Two United States Marine aircraft are reported to have crashed off the coast of Japan today.

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Japanese search-and-rescue aircraft immediately responded to the emergency, the statement added.

The circumstances of the mishap are now under investigation, the military added. "The aviators retained their wings and will continue service to their country as valued members of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing", he said.

Reports citing Marines officials indicate the incident involved a KC-130 refueling aircraft and a F/A-18 fighter jet, carrying 7 personnel in total.

In November, a U.S. navy fighter jet crashed into the sea off Japan's southern island of Okinawa and its 2 crew members were rescued alive.