Navy jet runs off runway, makes a water landing

SAN DIEGO - A military pilot safely ejected Friday before the training jet he was landing at Naval Air Station North Island overshot a runway and crashed into San Diego Bay. 

The T-45C Goshawk plunged into the harbor about 2 p.m., coming to rest upright and partially submerged in shallow water, according to Naval Air Forces Pacific public affairs.

Boaters pulled the pilot out of the bay a short time later. 

There were many witnesses across the bay on Shelter Island.

Leslie Wiese told 10News, "There was a big bang like a canon went off."

Dianne Winenger heard it and turned to her husband, Ray, "and I said, 'What was that?' He said it sounds like metal hitting metal."

Chuck Olson said he "heard the boom; the explosion of the ejection seat where the pilot came out."

Kent Whitaker had a colorful description, "The guy flew out of the water like on one of those jet-packs they have."

Ray Winenger told us his wife “looked up and said there's a parachute."

Frances Crego was with her daughter on a park slide as they watched.  "We followed him over the water; it was a big orange parachute."

Mike Higgins "saw a bunch of smoke, saw the splash."

The serviceman, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital for a precautionary evaluation. By early evening, he had been examined and released, according to the Navy.

At the time of the accident, the pilot was on a routine training mission to prepare for aircraft carrier landing qualifications. The two-seat Boeing/BAE Systems aircraft he was flying is assigned to Training Squadron 9, based in Meridian, Mississippi.

A crane crew was called in to remove the jet from the harbor, officials said.

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