Breaking News - Super Hornets Collide over Gulf (Updated)

super-hornets.jpg(Updated at 1338 Pacific) AP reports in more detail on the Super Hornet midair:

Two U.S. Navy fighter jets crashed Monday in the Persian Gulf, but the three pilots on board ejected safely out of the aircraft, the Navy said.

The three pilots were brought back after the crash to the USS Harry Truman, the aircraft carrier they were operating from, and are in good condition, the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet said in a written statement.

Teams from the Truman rescued the pilots who ejected after their F/A-18 Super Hornets crashed during operations in the Gulf, the statement said.

The Navy said the cause of the accident, which occurred around 1800GMT, was under investigation.

The planes were operating in the "vicinity of the Truman Carrier" at the time of the crash, said Lt. John Gay from 5th Fleet's headquarters in Bahrain.

"They were on a routine mission in support of maritime security in the region," said Gay, adding that Navy pilots conduct these types of flights several times a day.

Navy Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, who is the commander of the 5th Fleet, said it was a mid-air collision. Information released by the 5th Fleet said the two aircraft were providing "close air support from Iraq when they crashed."

One of the F-18 jets that crashed held two pilots, the other held just one. The aircraft are from Carrier Air Wing Three, which is deployed to the Persian Gulf with the Truman Carrier Strike Group.

Gay said Monday's crash was not connected to an incident early Sunday where Iranian boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the strategic Straight of Hormuz. The three Navy boats involved in the incident were the cruiser USS Port Royal, destroyer USS Hopper and frigate USS Ingraham, officials said.

"There is no connection with the incident," Gay said
Updates will continue to be posted as we get them.

-- Ward

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