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2 Navy pilots die after fighter crashes near Key West

Posted at 10:40 PM, Mar 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 04:01:35-04

KEY WEST, Fla. — Two U.S. Navy aviators died after their F/A-18 fighter jet crashed off Key West during a training flight.

The two-seater F/A-18F was on approach to Boca Chica Field at Naval Air Station Key West when it went down in shallow water about a mile from the runway, a Navy spokesman said.

"The mishap occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT," Cmdr. Dave Hecht, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces Atlantic, said earlier today. "Search and rescue were alerted at 4:37 p.m. and were on the scene by 4:40 p.m."

"Search and rescue efforts recovered the pilot and the weapons system officer who were aboard the aircraft," said Hecht.

"They were brought to Boca Chica and taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West," he added.

The crash was first reported by eyewitnesses who described a helicopter hovering above a jet lying in the waters off of Key West.