Marine Fighter Jets Collide off San Diego, Pilots Safe

Ejected pilot recovered in the ocean, officials say.

November 09, 2016, 5:18 PM

— -- Two Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets collided over the waters off San Diego today, military officials said.

One pilot was able to eject from his aircraft and was rescued at sea by the Navy, and the pilot of the other aircraft was able to land his aircraft at a nearby Navy base, officials said.

"Two 3rd Marine aircraft wing single-seat F/A-18 Hornets, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, experienced a midair collision during a training mission over the water in the vicinity of San Diego, California, at approximately 11:43 a.m. (PST), November 9, 2016," the 3rd Marine aircraft wing said in a statement.

The pilot who ejected from his aircraft was recovered from the ocean by a nearby search and rescue helicopter from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, officials said.

The helicopter was sent to look for the pilot after a distress call was received at approximately 12:11 p.m. Pacific time, officials said. The pilot was recovered a half-hour later.

The pilot of the other jet landed safely at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego Bay, officials said. Both pilots are in stable condition and were taken to medical facilities for observation.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, officials said.

The accident comes on the same day that the Gen. Robert Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, ordered a one-day stand-down for the Marine Corps to pursue professional development. He ordered that active-duty Marine units undertake the stand-down by Dec. 1 in the wake of fatal training accidents and other incidents that have resulted in Marine deaths, according to The Associated Press.

More than 140 Marines have died this year, with only one of those deaths coming from combat, according to the AP.

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