Home » Aviation » UPDATED: Two Aviators Killed After Super Hornet Crash off Key West


UPDATED: Two Aviators Killed After Super Hornet Crash off Key West

An F/A 18F Super Hornet, assigned to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, flies over the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) during flight operations. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated with an additional statement from the U.S. Navy.

Two Navy aviators are dead after an F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed off the coast of Key West, Fla. on Wednesday during a routine training flight, Navy officials told USNI News.

The fighter suffered a mishap on approach to Naval Air Station Key West and both the pilot and the weapon systems officer ejected from the aircraft.

“Search and rescue crews were notified shortly after the crash where they recovered both the pilot and weapons systems officer from the water approximately one mile east of the runway. Both were taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center,” read a statement from commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic.
“Both aviators have been declared deceased. Per Department of Defense policy, the names of the aviators are being withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification.”

The fighter was attached to Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 213 “Black Lions” based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.

Amateur photos from shortly after the crash show a Navy MH-60 helicopter over the crash site.

“I saw the fire and then it just dropped,” witness Barbie Wilson told the FLKeysNews shortly after the crash.
“In the air, I saw fire.”

The incident is under investigation.

The following is the complete March 14, 2018 statement from AIRLANT.

F/A-18F Crash Off Coast of Florida

An F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on final approach to Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida at approximately 4:30 pm eastern time today.

Search and rescue crews were notified shortly after the crash where they recovered both the pilot and weapons systems officer from the water approximately one mile east of the runway. Both were taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center.

Both aviators have been declared deceased. Per Department of Defense policy, the names of the aviators are being withheld until 24 hours after next-of- kin notification.

The F/A-18F is a dual-seated aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron Two One Three(VFA-213) based at Naval Air Station Oceana and was conducting a training flight.

The cause of the mishap is currently under investigation.

  • DaSaint

    Glad they’re safe. Hardware can be replaced.

    • CharleyA

      Unfortunately, the article has now been updated, and both crew members were killed.

      • DaSaint

        OMG. My prayers for the families of that pilot and WSO.

        • Stephen

          Loss of warriors, in any circumstance, so painful. Heartfelt condolences to the families, friends & shipmates.

    • Rocco

      Seriously!!!! Can’t you read!!

      • DaSaint

        Rocco, the initial version of the article says they were rescued. The revised version, which you just read an hour ago, states the unfortunate reality.

        I accept your apology, as I know you meant no harm, and probably wasn’t aware of that fact.

        • Rocco

          Kudos yes agreed i saw the comments below after I responded to you! Accepted!😎

  • John B. Morgen

    Maybe a bird strike that brought down the aircraft?

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      Pelicans could cause catastrophic failure especially at landings and take offs.. my hart goes to their families

    • RDF

      1 mile from landing you are too slow to take damage from a strike. Maybe ingestion, but have to be both engines. Witness said she saw fire. Could have been the seats firing. Would not have been the first fighter to run out of fuel short of the runway. Wait and see. Strange they both drowned.

      • George Hollingsworth

        It has not been determined that they drowned.

    • tiger

      Reports are they lost a engine & was trying land when they lost number 2.

      • RDF

        Well that would certainly do it. Is that straight gouge?

  • old guy

    R.I.P. our heroes !!!!!

  • tiger

    They try to save a bad plane rather than eject ASAP. When Engine 2 goes on approach, it sounds like they were too low or inverted during the ejection.

    • Max Glazer

      When on approach it’s low and slow, engine loss is ALWAYS going to cause them to crash. Perfect example is the MiG-29 at the airshow that swallowed a bird. In that case either eject immediately or it’ll be upside down.

      • RDF

        Not necessarily. Depends on gross weight and the other motor. If the aircrew is on the ball enough to go to burner on good one and cleanup and stay on top of yaw issues they could fly away. Get some knots and altitude. Dirty up high for controllability assessment. Fly a single engine approach to landing or take the gear. These guys hit major controllability issues somehow. Very scary.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Sad news. Condolences to the family and friends of the Navy officers.

  • Ginger Summers

    Heartbroken! So sorry this happened to two fine aviators.

  • Billie Montgomery

    God bless all of our military brothers & sisters & the families of these two phenomenal pilots. May God surround all of those who are hurting with His love. Godspeed to our two lost brothers. Fly High, Brothers! You will always be our heroes!!

  • Tech

    Anything with fighter aircraft is dangerous.