F/A-18 jet crashes in Atlantic off Virginia, pilot taken to hospital

NORFOLK, Va. - A Navy fighter jet crashed Wednesday in Atlantic waters off Virginia's coast and the pilot has been rescued, a Navy official said. The crash comes a week after a Navy helicopter plunged into the ocean in the region, leaving three dead.

Cmdr. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces Atlantic, said the F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed about 2:35 p.m. about 50 miles off Virginia Beach. He said the pilot ejected and was recovered by a fisherman, and then picked up by a Navy helicopter. Kafka said the pilot was conscious, but he gave no other immediate details about the crash or the pilot's health.

The pilot was flown to a civilian hospital.

The aircraft 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 this summer following a deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to Europe and the Middle East.

On Jan. 8, a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed about 18 miles off Virginia Beach in the Atlantic with five crew members aboard. Three died as a result of that crash, while two others were treated at a hospital and released. That helicopter was on routine mine countermeasure training at the time.

A memorial service is planned for the helicopter crash victims Friday at Naval Station Norfolk.

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