Local News

Navy F-14 Crashes Off North Carolina Coast; Pilot Missing

Posted October 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Two Navy fliers ejected from their F-14 Tomcat fighter jet moments before it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, but the pilot was missing, authorities said.

The Navy and the Coast Guard were conducting a search early today for the missing aviator. The jet's radar intercept officer was rescued and was in good condition at the Oceana Naval Air Station, where the jet was based, said Lt. Joe Walker, a Navy Atlantic Fleet air force spokesman in Norfolk.

The plane crashed Thursday off the North Carolina coast, about 65 miles east of Elizabeth City.

It was the first significant accident involving a military plane since six of them crashed during a seven-day span in mid-September. Those accidents prompted the Pentagon to order a one-day timeout in training flights for safety reviews by all the services.

The F-14 crashed about 4 p.m. during a routine training operation with another aircraft. Both crewmen ejected before the plane hit the water, the Navy said. Neither was identified.

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