The US Marines who were swept out to sea as they were snorkeling in rough surf near Okinawa, Japan, early Saturday morning were rescued by Japan Coast Guard helicopters, according to officials.
The American service members had gone snorkeling and were swept out to sea by a large surf, which caused many of them to fall off the ledge into the Pacific Ocean, according to a spokesman for the US Marine Corps in Japan.
They were seen being carried away by the current and unable to escape their current, he said.
A group of Japanese fishing boats retrieved a total of two Marines from the ocean, while seven others were saved by the Japanese Coast Guard helicopters. Two of the rescued Marines were rescued by one helicopter and the other four were rescued by another helicopter, officials said.
Two of the rescued Marines were in stable condition and were in addition to being evaluated by medical personnel.
This incident took place in the Takaoki area around 1:15 a.m. local time. The Marines were part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and were on a humanitarian and disaster relief mission.
At that time of the incident, Typhoon Jebi was raging across the Ryukyu Islands, the Joint Force Headquarters, Headquarters 3rd Marine Division, in Okinawa, Japan, said in a statement.
The intense typhoon had only since made landfall in Okinawa, the third largest of Japan’s main islands, the Joint Force said. Jebi brought strong winds and rains across Japan’s main islands, sweeping many parts of the country into darkness with blackouts across much of the country and causing hundreds of thousands of evacuations.
The Joint Force said two other Marines have been missing for the past four months, both at remote Oahu locations.
Three sailors lost at sea in October while deployed on the USS Fitzgerald, a US guided-missile destroyer, were recovered in the waters near Japan.