US military identifies 5 dead in warplanes crash off Japan
TOKYO — The US military has identified five Marines who were declared dead after their refueling plane collided with a fighter jet last week off Japan’s southern coast.
Search and recovery operations have ended after finding only one survivor, who was aboard the fighter jet.
The five crew members identified Wednesday were on a KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft that collided with an F/A-18 Hornet during regular training. The warplanes crashed into the sea south of Japan’s Shikoku island.
The Marine Corps identified the crew members as Lieutenant Colonel Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, N.C.; Major James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, N.Y.; Staff Sergeant Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Ariz.; Corporal Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Ill.; and Corporal William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tenn. They were based at Iwakuni air station near Hiroshima as part of the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152.
‘‘It is with heavy hearts that we announce the names of our fallen Marines,’’ Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell T. Maury, the squadron’s commanding officer, said in a statement. ‘‘They were exceptional aviators, Marines, and friends whom will be eternally missed. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and loved ones at this extremely difficult time.’’
The two crew members in the fighter jet were recovered after the accident, but one later died. He was earlier identified as Captain Jahmar Resilard, 28, of Miramar, Fla. The Marines said the survivor was in stable condition.
The search for the five missing crew, joined by Japanese and Australian forces, was halted Tuesday, and they were declared dead. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
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. 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.
Two years ago, a MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft Osprey crashed during a nighttime refueling exercise off the southern island of Okinawa, injuring two crew members.