Marine F/A-18D Hornet pilot killed in crash [Updated]

The pilot’s body was recovered at the crash site.
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Marine F/A8-D Hornet
FILE: An F/A-18 Hornet with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA(AW)) 224, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, takes off for air-to-air training at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, June 27, 2023. (Lance Cpl. Kyle Baskin/U.S. Marine Corps)

A Marine pilot was killed when an F/A-18D Hornet from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed on Thursday night in California, Corps officials announced on Friday.

The pilot’s name has not yet been publicly released pending next of kin notification, a news release from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing says. 

No one else was aboard the aircraft when it went down at 11:54 p.m. Thursday night on government property east of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Corps officials said.

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“Search and rescue recovered the U.S. Marine Corps pilot who has been confirmed deceased at the site,” the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s news release says.

The Hornet belonged to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, the news release says. 

No information was immediately available on the circumstances of the crash. An investigation into the incident has begun.

This is the first fatal crash involving a Marine Corps aircraft and the fifth Class A aviation mishap – involving loss of life or damage costing $2 million or more – in Fiscal Year 2023, according to the Naval Safety Center.

Prior to Thursday’s crash,a  Marine CH-53E had a “hard landing” on May 11 at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, injuring  12 people onboard. None of the injuries were life threatening, according to the Naval Safety Center’s mishap summaries.

UPDATE: 08/25/2023; this story was updated after the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing confirmed that the F/A-18D pilot had been killed.

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