Two Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) helicopters crashed late Saturday during nighttime training near the Izu Islands, killing at least one crew member and leaving seven missing, with the two aircraft believed to have collided, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said.

Speaking at a televised news conference Sunday morning, Kihara said that a crew member who had been found has been pronounced dead.

"I am very sorry that the situation has come to this point," he said. "As for the other seven, we are doing our best to find and rescue them."