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

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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (AP) — Two Navy fliers ejected from their F-14 Tomcat fighter jet moments beforeit plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, but the pilot was missing, authoritiessaid.

The Navy and the Coast Guard were conducting a search early today for themissing aviator. The jet's radar intercept officer was rescued and was ingood 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 mileseast of Elizabeth City.

It was the first significant accident involving a military plane since sixof them crashed during a seven-day span in mid-September. Those accidentsprompted the Pentagon to order a one-day timeout in training flights forsafety reviews by all the services.

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

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