By W.J. Hennigan, Tribune Washington Bureau
Two Navy F/A-18 fighter jets crashed after taking off from the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson while operating at sea in the western Pacific Ocean.
One of the pilots was quickly located and brought aboard the carrier for medical attention. Search efforts continue for the second pilot. No names were released.
The guided-missile cruiser Bunker Hill, guided-missile destroyer Gridley, and helicopters are scouring the ocean in the hunt.
The cause of Friday’s crashes are under investigation.
The Carl Vinson carrier is operating in the Navy’s 7th Fleet area of responsibility, described as the “Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”
In addition to carrier and expeditionary strike groups that deploy to the region, there are 23 ships forward deployed to U.S. facilities in Japan and Guam.
The Navy said the two F/A-18C Hornets have not been recovered. The “C” models made by McDonnell Douglas Corp., now owned by Boeing Co., were first delivered to the military in 1989.
The single-seat jet belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, which is about 40 miles south of Fresno.
The F/A-18 is a twin-engine fighter jet that has been a fixture on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers since 1983. The plane is flown by the Blue Angels, the Navy’s flying aerobatic team.
The aircraft’s fuselage sections are manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corp. in Los Angeles, in a 1-million-square-foot facility on Aviation Boulevard, about a mile south of Los Angeles International Airport.
U.S. Navy F/A-18s have crashed at least five times this year, including these two incidents.
Photo via WikiCommons
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