Va. Beach-based Navy jet crashes off Calif.; pilot safe

The Virginian-Pilot ©


The pilot of a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 81 at Oceana safely ejected from the plane before it crashed into the water off the coast of southern California Wednesday night.

The pilot was picked up and taken aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, according to a Navy news release. He was listed as stable.

The incident happened about 10 p.m. Pacific time while the pilot was attempting to land on the San Diego-based carrier, the San Diego Union-Tribune was reporting this morning.

The strike group was taking part in pre-deployment training, the paper reported.

All other aircraft that were airborne at the time of the crash were diverted to Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, the release says. They landed about 11 p.m.

Air operations also have stopped aboard the carrier until further notice.

The jet has not been recovered.

The cause is under investigation.

This is the second crash this year for an Oceana-based fighter jet and the third in two years. In January, an F/A-18 Super Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron 143, part of Carrier Air Wing 7, went down about 45 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

The jet was with another Super Hornet on a training mission when the pilot ejected and was picked up by a Navy helicopter that also was training in the area.

In April 2012, double-engine failure caused an F/A-18 Super Hornet to crash into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach. No injuries were reported.

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