Navy fighter jet crashes off Virginia Beach, pilot ejects and is in critical condition
“A Navy fighter jet crashed Wednesday in Atlantic waters off Virginia and the lone pilot was in critical condition after he ejected and was rescued, the Navy said. The crash comes a week after a Navy helicopter plunged into the ocean in the region, leaving three dead. Both aircraft were on routine training missions. Cmdr. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces Atlantic, said the single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed at 2:35 p.m. about 45 miles off Virginia Beach. The pilot ejected and a life raft deployed, according to a Navy statement. The pilot was initially recovered by a fishing vessel and then picked up by a Navy MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter and flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The hospital is the area’s only Level I Trauma Center. Kafka said the pilot was conscious while being flown to the hospital, but he gave no other details about the crash or why he was in critical condition. The pilot’s name hasn’t been released. The jet was among two on the training mission, and the pilot of the other plane helped pinpoint the downed pilot’s location. It wasn’t immediately clear how the fishing vessel found the pilot, but Kafka said it arrived within ten minutes of the crash. The jet was based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach and belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron 143. The squadron is part of Carrier Air Wing Seven, which returned to Virginia last summer following a deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to Europe and the Middle East.” (Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/navy-fa-18-jet-crashes-atlantic-off-virginia-21546727).
“WAVY-TV reports the pilot was conscious when found by the fishing vessel. The Navy confirmed on Twitter that the pilot was “safely recovered” after the crash.” (Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/navy-f-18-jet-crashes-45-miles-virginia-beach-report-article-1.1580857).
“The way Bryan Daniels tells it, he and his crew aboard the Joyce D didn’t do anything special Wednesday afternoon. They were just in the right place at the right time when a Navy jet crashed 45 miles off the Virginia coast, leaving its pilot adrift and critically injured. The fishermen never saw or heard the crash – the first sign of trouble came when two other jets kept buzzing them, Daniels said in messages faxed via satellite from aboard his ship, which is still at sea. Daniels raised them on the radio. A jet was down, a survivor in the water – would he steam 2 miles west and check it out? They spotted the tail section of the F/A-18 Super Hornet in the water and used it to guide themselves to the pilot. They came up to him and threw a life ring and rope, but the pilot couldn’t grab it. ‘Help me!’ he cried. He was having trouble breathing. Daniels worried the Joyce D might roll over him. They tried again with the life ring and had him almost to the boat when Navy helicopters with rescue swimmers arrived. ‘We hated to turn him loose, but they could handle it better,’ Daniels said. ‘I was sure glad. I won’t forget the look in his eyes.’” (Source: http://hamptonroads.com/2014/01/jet-crash-pilot-still-critical-navy-upbeat-recovery-0).
We at Pilot Law extend our sympathies to the victim of this crash. We have a lot of experience in handling cases such as this and will continue to independently investigate the possible causes of this terrible accident. As always, we are available for a free consultation with anyone who may wish to pursue claims on his behalf.