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US Military Declares Five Missing Marines Dead after Japan Crash

The US military said Tuesday five Marines who had been missing since two planes crashed off Japan a week ago were dead.

The announcement brings the final toll in the December 6 crash to six, with a seventh crew member rescued after the incident.

The crash involving an F/A-18 fighter jet with two crew onboard and a KC-130 refueling tanker with five crew occurred in the early morning around 100 kilometers (55 nautical miles) off the cape of Muroto in southwestern Japan.

It prompted a massive search and rescue operation, which the US military said had now been called off.

“Every possible effort was made to recover our crew and I hope the families of these selfless Americans will find comfort in the incredible efforts made by US, Japanese, and Australian forces during the search,” said US Marine Corps Lieutenant General Eric Smith, commanding general of the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

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