Jet Crash Involving SD-Based Pilot Under Investigation

Crash Occurred At Naval Air Station Fallon; Pilot Of F/A-18C Hornet Safely Ejected

The crash of an F/A-18C jet at Naval Air Station Fallon in which a San Diego-based Marine pilot safely ejected Saturday was under investigation on Monday.

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The crash near the western Nevada "TOPGUN" airfield occurred about 3:15 p.m. during training, and the pilot was released from a local hospital after being checked out, the U-T San Diego reported.

The roughly $30 million Hornet was from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, nicknamed "Death Rattlers," which was training at the airfield east of Reno with Carrier Group 11, according to a Navy statement.

"The job itself is of a dangerous nature, but it's not common for an F/A-18 or military aircraft in general to crash," Navy Lt. Aaron Kakiel of Naval Air Forces Pacific said. "Luckily it's one of the safety precautions we have in the aircraft -- when the pilot is able to recognize a situation that is unrecoverable, they are able to eject and get out safely."

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