Navy Searches for Pilot After Two F/A-18s Collide

An F/A-18 Super Hornet attached to the USS Carl Vinson performs maneuvers at sea during a flight demonstration on March 3, 2010. The Navy reported that two Hornets from the Carl Vinson crashed Sept. 12, 2014, off the coast of California. Navy photo
An F/A-18 Super Hornet attached to the USS Carl Vinson performs maneuvers at sea during a flight demonstration on March 3, 2010. The Navy reported that two Hornets from the Carl Vinson crashed Sept. 12, 2014, off the coast of California. Navy photo

UPDATED 9:59 a.m. Eastern

The Navy is searching for one pilot and treating the injuries of another after two F/A-18 Hornets crashed after colliding Friday over the western Pacific while operating from an aircraft carrier.

The aircraft, part of Carrier Air Wing 17 on the USS Carl Vinson, belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 and Strike Fighter Squadron 113, according to a Navy release. The Carl Vinson is scheduled to participate in a large exercise off the coast of Guam beginning Monday.

One pilot was pulled quickly from the water after the crash and is in stable condition, according to a spokesman for the Navy's 7th Fleet. Navy ships and aircraft were still searching for the other pilot.

A Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon said officials were still piecing together the sequence of events leading to the crash, but believe the two aircraft collided. The two Hornets have not been recovered, according to the press release.

Ships involved in the search included the cruiser USS Bunker Hill and destroyer USS Gridley, with helicopters assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73.

The Carl Vinson is based in San Diego. It was scheduled to participate in the exercise Valiant Shield, which begins Monday and brings together 18,000 troops from across the U.S. services to test the military's Air-Sea Battle concept. Carrier Air Wing 17 is based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, near Fresno, Calif.

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ORIGINAL STORY

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pentagon officials say two U.S. Navy jets have crashed into the western Pacific Ocean and that one pilot was rescued and a search is on for the other.

The F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets were from Carrier Air Wing 17 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California's San Joaquin Valley. The air wing is embarked on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

The Navy says the rescued pilot was returned to the carrier and is being treated. It says the planes haven't been recovered.

Officials say other aircraft still in the air in the vicinity were safely recovered.

The guided-missile cruiser Bunker Hill, guided-missile destroyer Gridley and helicopters assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 were involved in the search.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed in June as it prepared to land on the Carl Vinson off the Southern California coast. The pilot was able to eject safely.

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Aircraft Crash Landings