Pilot aboard F-18 military jet that crashed near San Diego has died: Official
The crash happened near Interstate 15 early Friday morning, authorities said.
The pilot of an F-18D Hornet jet that crashed near San Diego early Friday morning has died, according to a U.S. defense official.
The pilot -- who has been identified as Maj. Andrew Mettler -- died during a training flight in the vicinity of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, according to the Marine Corps.
Mettler was assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron and was participating in a service level training exercise.
"I had the great honor of flying in an F/A-18D with Simple Jack and will always remember his skill piloting the Hornet and his wry smile. It is with great humility that I offer my deepest condolences to the family, loved ones, and friends of Maj. Andrew Mettler. You remain at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers,” 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) Commanding General Maj. Gen. Scott Benedict said in a statement.
Mettler, a Georgia native, served as an F/A-18 Hornet pilot with VMFA(AW)-224, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 31 and 2nd MAW stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.
"Mettler’s decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with four bronze stars in lieu of 5th award," according to the Marine Corps.
Search and rescue teams recovered Mettler at the crash site.
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in Cherry Point, North Carolina, issued a statement confirming he was part of its unit.
According to audio gathered by Broadcastify, the pilot had ejected before the jet crashed.
The cause of the crash is unknown and an investigation is underway, officials said.