Two fighter jets embarked on the US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) have crashed in the far western Pacific Ocean following a mid-air collision, with one of the two pilots safely ejected and rescued. The other is still missing.
The F/A-18 Hornets, which belonged to the navy’s Carrier Air Wing 17, were assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 (VFA-94) and Strike Fighter Squadron 113 (VFA-113).
The cause of the crash is unknown and both jets are yet to be recovered, the US Navy said.
The US Navy said in a statement: "[The] search for the second pilot includes guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), and helicopters assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 (HSC 15) and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 (HSM 73)."
The USS Sperett and USS Dewey have also been deployed in the search efforts.
The USS Carl Vinson strike group team was on its way for a nine-and-a-half-month deployment to relieve the USS George HW Bush, which had been taking part in operations against ISIS in Iraq off the Persian Gulf.
Designed to be operated as a fighter in roles such as engaging enemy aircraft as well as an attack aircraft, the twin-engine, single-seat F/A-18Cs have been deployed since the late 1980s.
Image: The US Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.