Navy Suspends Search for Pilot Involved in F/A-18 Hornet Crash Near Wake Island
WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN - After an extensive search, the Navy has ended search and rescue efforts at 5:15 a.m. (+11L) Sept. 14 for the pilot of one of the F/A-18C Hornet aircraft that crashed Sept. 12 approximately 250 nautical miles off the coast of Wake Island.
The pilot assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 94 has been presumed deceased.
"This is an exceptionally difficult time for the friends and family of the missing pilot and the Navy community," said Rear Adm. Christopher Grady, Commander, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. "We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy."
The identity of the pilot will not be released until the family notification process is complete.
Navy units involved in the search and rescue efforts included USS Carl Vinson, USS Bunker Hill, USS Gridley, USS Sterett, and USS Dewey, along with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73 and P-8s from Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron (VP) 5 in Guam.
The two F/A-18C aircraft, one assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 94 and the other assigned to VFA 113, had launched from the flight deck and were in the process of proceeding to their initial stations when they apparently collided approximately seven miles from the ship.
One pilot was recovered by helicopter shortly after the crash and transported to USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) for medical care. The rescued pilot has since been released from medical facilities aboard the ship.
VFA 94 and VFA 113, both based at NAS Lemoore, Calif., are part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, assigned to the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.