Fighter Jet Crash Kills Navy Pilot in Southern California

N364579 03: File Photo: An F/A-18E "Super Hornet" Strike-Fighter Banks Into A Turn During Operational Testing At The Naval Air Weapons Station At China Lake, Ca. December 1999.
U.S. Navy/Getty Images

A U.S. Navy pilot was killed Friday when an F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashed in the Mojave Desert near Trona, California, officials announced.

The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. local time. The Super Hornet involved was based at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, located some 33 miles south of Fresno, officials said in a press release. The pilot’s identity is being withheld “until 24 hours after the next of kin have been notified.”

No civilians were killed or injured due to the crash, and Naval Security Forces, as well as federal firefighters from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, responded to the scene. Trona is some 25 miles northeast of the base.

No further details were provided.

“In October, an F/A-18F crashed in nearby Death Valley with the pilot sustaining minor injures,” the Naval Institute (USNI) noted. “In 2020, an F/A-18E crashed in China Lake with the pilot surviving.”

An F-35C Lightning II aircraft sank to the bottom of the South China Sea in January after it crashed on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson and careened into the water, Breitbart News reported. The pilot ejected upon impact and was injured along with six sailors. In March, the Navy announced it had recovered the F-35C Lightning from an approximate depth of 12,400 feet.

An F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter following a crash on USS Carl Vinson CVN-70) on Jan. 24, 2022.

An F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter following a crash on USS Carl Vinson CVN-70) on Jan. 24, 2022. (U.S. Navy)

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