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Two Navy Jets From USS Carl Vinson Collide At Sea; One Pilot Missing (Video)

Photo credit: U.S. Navy

An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Red Lions of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during search and rescue operations for the pilot of one of two F/A-18 Hornets which crashed earlier in the day while operating from the ship.

The pilot of one of two U.S. Navy F/A-18C Hornet jets that collided in the western Pacific after taking off from the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was in fair condition Friday, while a search continued for the other pilot, Navy officials said.

At the time of the incident, the Navy reports the Vinson was roughly 250 nautical miles west of Wake Island.

Both jets were assigned to Carrier Air Wing 17 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in central California.

According to the Navy, the F/A-18 Hornets crashed at 5:40 p.m. local time:

The initial report is that the two aircraft are assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 (VFA-94) and Strike Fighter Squadron 113 (VFA-113).

NBC News is reporting the two jets collided before crashing into the ocean.

Search crews were quickly able to find one of the pilots, who received medical attention aboard the Vinson, according to the latest update from the Navy.

The hunt is still on for the second pilot, who remains missing. Members of the Vinson Carrier Group — USS Bunker Hill, USS Gridley, USS Sterett, USS Dewey and helicopters assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 — are all involved in the search for the lost pilot.

The two downed F/A-18C Hornets are still missing as well.

The Navy is investigating the cause of the collision.

As Home Post reported last month, the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group departed Naval Air Station North Island on Aug. 22 for a nine-month deployment to the the Navy's 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility, which includes the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf.

San Diego's NBC affiliate spoke with retired F/A-18 fighter pilot Capt. Leo Melendez about the challenges of flying at sea:

U.S. Fighter Jets Collide Over Pacific, 1 Pilot Missing


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