Two killed in Navy jet crash near Lemoore [Updated]
Two people were killed when a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft crashed near Naval Air Station Lemoore on Wednesday, officials said.
The fighter jet crashed shortly after noon in a grass field about a half a mile from the air station, officials said. No one on the ground was injured.
No other information was immediately available about the victims.
Emergency crews are at the scene of the crash.
The air station is in the San Joaquin Valley, about 40 miles west of Visalia.
[Updated, 2:34 p.m.: Navy officials believe the downed jet to be a Super Hornet, which is the latest model of the F/A-18 fighter attack series. Officials said they have been conducting training exercises in preparation for deployment.
A base spokesperson said the jet was on a routine training flight.]
[Updated, 3:50 p.m.: The supersonic F/A-18 fighter jet, a fixture on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers since 1983, is made by Boeing Co. in St Louis. The plane’s center fuselage is built by Northrop Grumman Corp. in El Segundo.
The Super Hornet variation can cost about $60 million per plane.]
[Updated, 5 p.m.: The two crew members killed in the crash were assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 122 based at Lemoore.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and shipmates of the aircrew,” said Capt. James Knapp, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Lemoore. “An investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the mishap.”]
-- Tony Perry, Ari Bloomekatz and W.J. Hennigan
Map: Shows location of incident. Click through for larger map. Credit: Los Angeles Times
Photo: An F/A-18 Hornet prepares to land on the carrier John C. Stennis during a training exercise in January. Credit: U.S. Navy