Navy Jet Crashes in Death Valley; Pilot Ejects Safely

An F/A-18F Super Hornet conducts carrier landing simulations at Fentress.
An F/A-18F Super Hornet conducts carrier landing simulations at Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field. (U.S. Navy/ Petty Officer 3rd Class David Danals)

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — A Navy jet fighter crashed in Death Valley National Park and the pilot ejected and was treated for minor injuries, authorities said Tuesday.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet went down at about 3 p.m. Monday. It was assigned to nearby Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 9, based at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a Navy statement said.

The crash was in a remote southern area of the park in California's Mojave Desert near the Nevada border and nobody on the ground was hurt.

The pilot was treated at a hospital in Las Vegas and released, the Navy said.

The crash was under investigation.

On July 31, 2019, another Navy Super Hornet crashed in Death Valley National Park during a routine training mission, killing the pilot and slightly injuring seven park visitors who were struck by debris.

They had gathered at a scenic overlook about 160 miles (257 kilometers) where aviation enthusiasts watch military pilots speeding low through a chasm dubbed Star Wars Canyon, officials said.

Last October, an F/A-18E Super Hornet from Naval Air Station Lemoore in California's Central Valley went down during a training mission in the Mojave Desert but the pilot safely ejected.

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