Navy jet crashes off coast while trying to land on carrier

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SAN DIEGO — A U.S. Navy FA-18E Hornet crashed into the sea Wednesday night as it was attempting to land on the Coronado-based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, Navy officials said.

F/A 18E Super Hornet

Photo: U.S. Navy

The crash happened around 10 p.m. off the coast of Southern California, according to U.S. Pacific Fleet officials. The pilot of the jet, which was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 81 based in Oceana, Va., ejected before impact and was rescued. He is safe on board the USS Carl Vinson, Navy officials said.

The jet has not been recovered.

Due to the crash, all other aircraft previously scheduled to land aboard the Carl Vinson were re-routed until further notice to Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, the ship’s homeport.

The Carl Vinson is currently off the coast of Southern California conducting training exercises. It was from that vessel that Osama bin Laden was buried at sea in May 2011.

This was the second military jet fighter to crash Wednesday.  The first crash involved a U.S. Marine Corps. AV-8B Harrier and occurred in the city of Imperial shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Harrier, which was stationed in Yuma, Ariz, and is attached to the Miramar-based Third Marine Aircraft Wing, crashed into a residential neighborhood in Imperial, destroying three homes but injuring no one on the ground, according to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar’s public affairs office. The pilot ejected before impact and suffered minor injuries.

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