San Diego-based Navy FA-18 Hornet fighter involved in crash in western Pacific

CORONADO – The pilot of one of two U.S. Navy FA-18 Hornet fighter jets that collided in the western Pacific after taking off from the San Diego- based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was in fair condition today, while a search continued for the other pilot, Navy officials said.

One of the pilots was quickly located after Thursday’s 5:40 p.m. crash and was returned to the Carl Vinson to receive medical attention, according to the Navy. Neither jet — both are assigned to Carrier Air Wing 17 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore — had been recovered as of early today.

The Navy was investigating the cause of the crash, which happened 250 nautical miles west of Wake Island.

Navy officials said initial reports indicated the aircraft were assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 and Strike Fighter Squadron 113.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley and helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 were assisting in the search for the missing pilot, Navy officials said.

The crash came as the Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17, which includes nine fixed-wing and helicopter squadrons, were supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, according to the Navy.

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group departed San Diego Aug. 22 for deployment in the Western Pacific and Middle East. The vessels in the strike force include the Carl Vinson, the Bunker Hill and guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley, USS Sterett and USS Dewey.

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