A U.S. Navy pilot was rescued by a fishing vessel after ejecting from a jet that crashed off the coast of Virginia on Wednesday.
A single-seat F-18E Hornet jet took off from Naval Air Station Oceana at around 2:30pm on a routine training flight. After experiencing a malfunction, the pilot pulled the ejection handle before the aircraft plunged into the water about 45 miles off the Virginia Beach.
A liferaft was also deployed after the pilot fell into the sea. He remained conscious when he was recovered by a fishing vessel that was two miles away from the scene. “We tried to get him on board the boat, but he couldn't grab nothing. All he could do is say he couldn't breathe and help him,” Bryan Daniels, the captain of the fishing ship which discovered the pilot, told Wavy TV.
The Navy dispatched an MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter to pick up the pilot and send him to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The pilot’s condition was not immediately known, and the U.S. Navy did not disclose his identity.
The crash is the second one involving the U.S. Navy in January. Three crew members were killed when a helicopter crashed during a training mission on January 8.