An F-A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the carrier Theodore Roosevelt took a swim in the Philippine Sea, but the pilots have been recovered and are OK, Navy officials announced Thursday.
The two-seater fighter jet, assigned to Carrier Air Wing 11, had been conducting routine pilot proficiency training when the pilots made the decision to eject, according to a release from the Roosevelt. It's not clear what preceded the pilots' ejection.
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The incident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. Thursday local time, Lt. j.g. Rachel Maul, a spokeswoman for U.S. Pacific Fleet, told Military.com.
The pilots were quickly recovered by a helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8, also deployed aboard Roosevelt. The squadron flies MH-60S Seahawks.
"The incident is currently under investigation," officials said in a release. "Both aviators were assessed by the medical team on board Theodore Roosevelt and are in good condition."
The carrier, which deployed in January, has been in the news for months following a major COVID-19 outbreak in March that resulted in the death of a sailor and more than 1,200 additional cases of the disease. Ultimately, the carrier was sidelined in Guam. Blowback over a plea for help from the commanding officer that went public led to his firing and then the resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.
The carrier departed Guam in late May and has been conducting qualification flights in the Philippine Sea ever since.
This mishap is the first ditching of a Navy fighter aircraft this fiscal year. In January, an MH-60 Seahawk assigned to the amphibious command ship Blue Ridge went down in the Philippine Sea during routine operations. Its five aircrew were recovered safely.
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.
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