Pilot killed in navy jet fighter crash in California desert

TRONA, Calif. – – TRONA, Calif. – – A Navy fighter plane crashed in the Southern California desert on Friday, killing the pilot, according to authorities.

The Navy announced in a statement that a F/A-18E Super Hornet located at Naval Air Station Lemoore went down around 2:30 p.m. near the unincorporated Mojave Desert village of Trona.

On the ground, no one was harmed.

Officials held off on releasing any information at first about what happened, including the pilot’s identification.

On the other hand, the air base in the Central Valley lies 236 miles (380 kilometers) south of Trona.

According to the town’s website, Lemoore is home to the Pacific and Joint Strike Fighter Wing commanders, as well as 16 active Strike Fighter squadrons.

Seven park visitors were mildly injured when a Navy Super Hornet crashed in Death Valley National Park in 2019 during a regular training operation, killing the pilot. Military pilots fly low over the canyon, which has been dubbed “Star Wars Canyon,” to the delight of aviation aficionados, officials said.

A Navy Super Hornet from Naval Air Station China Lake crashed in October of last year, as did one from Naval Air Station Lemoore in 2020, both while undergoing training. In a remote area of Death Valley National Park, near the Nevada border, one of the pilots safely ejected, the other in the Mojave Desert.

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