OREGON INLET, N.C. (WAVY) – Four Navy pilots based at NAS Oceana survived a crash during training Thursday morning.
The Navy confirms an in-flight mishap involving two F/A-18F Super Hornets 25 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras occurred around 10:30 a.m.
According to Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup, the Coast Guard was immediately called.
“We instantly jumped into action,” said Lt. Cmdr. Krystyn Pecora during a mid-afternoon news conference about the incident. She called it a textbook rescue. “There was a Coast Guard helicopter up already actually doing training. There were also two Navy helicopters in the area.” A fishing vessel nearby also responded to assist.
All four of the pilots have minor injuries and are reportedly in very high spirits.
The commercial fishing vessel “Tammy” pulled two of the men to safety. An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, hoisted the other two survivors from the water. A second helicopter from Air Station Elizabeth City hoisted the two survivors from the fishing vessel.
The first helicopter arrived at the hospital just before 1 p.m. WAVY News 10 video shows two pilots being placed on stretchers and wheeled into the hospital; they were alert and talking.
The second helicopter carrying the remaining two pilots involved in the crash arrived about 20 minutes later. The two Navy men on board were able to get off the helicopter on their own accord.
Naval Air Force Atlantic says two Navy ships are inbound and expected to arrive Thursday afternoon. The F/A-18F are two-seated aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211 based at Naval Air Station Oceana and were conducting routine training. According to LCDR Tiffani Walker, a safety investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the accident.