Navy Super Hornet Crashes Near China Lake; Search Underway

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An F/A-18E Super Hornet touches down during past field carrier-landing practice on Iwo Jima, an island known in Japan as Iwo To. (Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)
An F/A-18E Super Hornet touches down during past field carrier-landing practice on Iwo Jima, an island known in Japan as Iwo To. (Courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

An F/A-18E Super Hornet has crashed near Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, California, the Navy said Wednesday.

The fighter, from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, crashed north of the base at approximately 10 a.m. local time, Lt. Cmdr. Lydia Bock, spokeswoman for the Strike Fighter Wing told Military.com. A search-and-rescue unit from China Lake has been dispatched to find the pilot, she said.

Multiple media reports said the crash occurred in the “Star Wars Canyon,” where both Air Force and Navy pilots often train in the western edge of Death Valley National Park. Visitors standing nearby at the Father Crowley Overlook in the park sustained minor injuries from the crash, according to ABC News.

Bock could not confirm those reports by press time. Cmdr. Ron Flanders, spokesman for Naval Air Forces, said the Navy will release more information as it becomes available.

In a separate tweet Wednesday, the Navy said that the F/A-18 was on a routine training flight and the crash is under investigation.

In November, a Navy F/A-18 jet crashed in the Philippine Sea. Two pilots were rescued and were in good condition following a mechanical mishap that forced them to eject from the aircraft, the service said at the time.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @oriana0214.

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