Navy rules jet crash an accident
One jet collided with other just after takeoff from carrier Carl Vinson
By Jeanette Steele
The fatal collision of two Navy F/A-18 fighters jets in September has been ruled an accident, according to a Navy investigation released to U-T San Diego this week.
On Sept. 12, two Hornet jets took off from the San Diego aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, which was in the vicinity of the Marshall Islands for international exercises.
The jets launched within a minute of each other. Upon takeoff, they both ascended and turned to the west.
Then the plane piloted by Lt. Nathan Poloski, a 26-year-old native of Lake Arrowhead, came up under the bottom left rear of the other jet, causing a collision, according to the report.
The pilot of the other jet didn’t realize he’d been hit. He ejected after his plane caught fire and become uncontrollable.
Both crashed into the ocean. The other pilot — who was not named in the report — was recovered safely but with injuries.
Poloski’s body was never found. Searchers did retrieve his cracked and battered helmet.
Both he and the other pilot were considered competent aviators with the proper qualifications in their records.
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