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Carrier-based F-18 fighter jet crashes into Philippine Sea – pilots safely recovered

An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) March 18, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas V. Huynh)
June 18, 2020

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt went down over the Philippine Sea on Thursday.

A press release from the U.S. Pacific Fleet indicated the two pilots of the aircraft ejected before it went down. The pilots were subsequently recovered by helicopter and returned to the aircraft carrier, where they were assessed to be in good condition.

The incident occurred around 10 p.m. local time according to Lt. j.g. Rachel Maul, a spokeswoman for U.S. Pacific Fleet who spoke with Military.com

The pilots, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 were conducting routine pilot training when the aircraft went down. A helicopter with the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 performed the rescue.

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The cause of the incident is still being investigated.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt returned to sea on May 21 after being sidelined nearly two months in Guam since March 27 due to a coronavirus outbreak. An outbreak of the virus aboard the ship resulted in the death of one U.S. Navy sailor and infected more than 1,200 additional sailors, Military.com reported.

Since the carrier returned to sea last month, CVW 11 has been conducting carrier qualification flights.

Military.com reported Thursday’s incident was the first time pilots had to ditch a Navy fighter aircraft this fiscal year. In January, an MH-60 Seahawk assigned to the amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) also went down over the Philippine Sea. The five members of that helicopter’s crew were also safely recovered.