The US military said Tuesday it had pronounced five missing Marines dead and was ending search operations nearly a week after two US military aircraft crashed off Japan, according to Economic Times.
The announcement brings the final toll in the December 6 crash to six، with a seventh crew member rescued after the deadly incident.
The crash involving an FA-18 fighter jet with two crew onboard and a KC-130 refuelling tanker with five crew occurred in the early morning around 100 kilometres (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.
The accident was initially reported to have happened during a refuelling operation، but the military said Tuesday this had not been confirmed and that the circumstances were still under investigation.