The United States Marine Corps has announced that the salvage operation related to the December 6, 2018 aircraft mishap involving an F/A-18D and a KC-130J has concluded. The operation occurred from May 27 to June 7, 2019.
Five crew from a KC-130J assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, or “Sumos” squadron, and the pilot of the two-person F/A-18D Hornet assigned to Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, or “Bats,” were killed Dec. 6 in an accident over the Philippine Sea that has been described by Japanese defense officials as a midair collision.
The salvage effort accomplished the task of recovering the KC-130J’s cockpit voice recorder and digital flight recorder. These devices are being delivered to Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland for analysis to assist in the on-going investigation.
Additionally, human remains were recovered during the salvage operation. At this time, the number and identity of those recovered is not known. The remains will be transferred to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware where formal identification will be made by competent medical authorities.
“We reaffirm our deepest sympathy for all affected by this tragedy and those grieving the loss of the six Marines who perished in this accident. We also would like to express our sincere gratitude for the cooperation and expertise of the underwater salvage team, ” said in the Marine Corps’ statement.
The cause of the December 2018 aircraft mishap remains under investigation.