Updated: Two F/A-18C Hornets Collided and Crashed Near Mariana Islands, One Pilot Missing

September 12, 2014 8:43 AM - Updated: September 12, 2014 3:05 PM
F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the "Stingers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA-113) in 2009. US Navy Photo
F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the “Stingers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA-113) in 2009. US Navy Photo

Two F/A-18C Hornets assigned to the carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) have crashed in the Pacific Ocean following a mid-air collision, Navy officials told USNI News on Friday morning. One pilot was recovered and one is still missing.

The search for the second pilot is ongoing.

“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),” according to the release.

Both fighters went down near the Mariana Islands to the north of Guam, officials confirmed.

One Hornet was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 “Mighty Shrikes” (VFA-94) and the other to Strike Fighter Squadron 113 “Stingers” (VFA-113).

Both squadrons are based Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.

The two aircraft have not been recovered and the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17 left Naval Station Coronado, Calif. on Aug. 22 and is currently assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet.

The carrier is in the vicinity of Guam in support of Exercise Valiant Shield 2014. The 180,000 troop exercise includes elements of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The exercise starts on Monday and will run until Sept. 23.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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