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One Missing After U.S. Jets Collide

TOKYO (AP) — Two U.S. military jets collided over waters off northern Japan early Monday, the Japanese Coast Guard said. One pilot was rescued but the other was missing.

The F-16Cs collided off Oshima Island, 410 miles north of Tokyo, said Toshifumi Nishikawa, spokesman for the Coast Guard based in Otaru, on nearby Hokkaido Island.

Both the pilots apparently ejected from their planes and one of them was rescued by the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, said Toshimi Okimoto, a JASDF spokesman. There were no other people aboard.

The rescued pilot, Col. Michael J. Lepper was in good condition, United States Forces, Japan said in a statement. U.S. and Japanese planes and ships were still looking for the other pilot, whose name was not released. Lepper's hometown was not immediately available.

The two jets, based at Misawa U.S. Air Base, were on a routine training mission as part of a joint U.S.-Japan military exercise, the U.S. military said.

Misawa, a former Imperial Japanese army airstrip, houses 5,400 U.S. service people and is used by 3,300 members of Japan's air defense forces.
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