Japan: 6 feared dead in air force jet crash

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Defense ministry official says crewmembers found in wreckage don’t show any vital signs

TOKYO – Japanese rescue teams found Thursday the wreckage of an Air Self-Defense Force jet that went missing while carrying six crewmembers, who are feared dead.

Kyodo news agency cited an unnamed senior defense ministry official as saying that none of those recovered from the site at a mountain in southwestern Kagoshima Prefecture showed any vital signs.

The 15-meter-long twin-engine U-125 disappeared from radar Wednesday afternoon when the aircraft had been flying north of an air base in Kanoya city.

The country’s meteorological agency reported there had been thick cloud cover above the base at the time.

While around 600 personnel from the Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighter teams were deployed for Thursday’s search, less than half could participate due to rough weather conditions — including heavy downpour, strong winds and fog — around Mount Takakuma.

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