Military officials say a 28-year-old South Florida man has died in a crash of two U.S. warplanes that collided off Japan's coast.
The U.S. Marine Corps said in a statement released Friday that Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard of Miramar, Florida, died in the Thursday crash. Another crew member was found and is in fair condition. Five others remain missing.
Resilard was a F/A-18 pilot with the Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 242 and was stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan.
Family members told NBC 6 they were set to meet Resilard in Maryland for Christmas but are now making funeral plans.
"For me it’s been bittersweet, you know, again, he lived his dream. He wanted to be a pilot, not just a pilot he wanted to be a fighter pilot," mother Joni Moore-Resilard told NBC 6 in a phone interview Friday.
Lt. Col. James Compton called Resilard an "effective and dedicated leader who cared for his Marines and fellow pilots with passion." His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
The Marines said in a statement that the two planes were involved in routine training, including aerial refueling, but that it was still investigating what caused the crash.
President Donald Trump tweeted that his thoughts and prayers were with the Marine Corps crew members involved in the collision. He thanked U.S. Forces in Japan for their "immediate response and rescue efforts” and said "Whatever you need, we are here for you."
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was "heartbroken" to learn of Resilard's death.
"The loss of Capt. Resilard is a somber reminder of the danger our servicemen and women both home and abroad place themselves in every day to keep us safe," Scott said in a statement. "The entire State of Florida joins Capt. Resilard’s family in honoring his bravery and legacy of service."
The crash took place 320 kilometers (200 miles) off the coast, according to the U.S. military. Japanese officials said it occurred closer to the coast, about 100 kilometers (60 miles), and that’s where the search and rescue mission found the two crew members.
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew from the fighter jet in stable condition. The Marines said the crew member was taken to a hospital on the base in Iwakuni and was in fair condition, but did not provide any other details.
Japan’s coast guard also joined the search.
The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.
Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.
More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Japan under a bilateral security pact.