A US Navy single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the ‘Vigilantes’ of Strike Fighter Squadron 151 (VFA-151) based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, Calif., crashed on Jul. 31, 2019 in the morning at approximately 10 a.m. PST, east of Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, California.
The aircraft came down in or near the famous Canyon of Death Valley’s “Star Wars Canyon.” The F/A-18E crashed into the canyon wall only fifty metres from the tourists.
There were reports of minor injuries to seven visitors at the Vista Point. The status of the pilot is unknown
At approximately 10:00 a.m PST an F/A-18E crashed near @NAWS_CL. Search-and-rescue efforts are underway.
— flynavy (@flynavy) July 31, 2019
It is confirmed that seven tourists from France (all belong to one family) suffered minor injuries due to shrapnel from the crash. One person was taken to the hospital for further treatment.
They were at Father Crowley Overlook checking out the view of the canyon, and it is said by a spokesman of Death Valley, that they did not even know the military used the area.
Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet Crashes in Star Wars Canyon – 7 Visitors Injured & Pilot missing – See Details: https://t.co/lilob2YnEJ pic.twitter.com/IYBR3EQgFD
— Fighter jets World (@FJW_Aviation) August 1, 2019
“At approximately 10 a.m. PST, an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the ‘Vigilantes’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., crashed east of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif.,” read a statement from spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Lydia Bock provided to USNI News.
“Search and rescue personnel are on scene and the status of the pilot is currently unknown. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.”
It's been more than 12 hours since a F/A 18E Super Hornet jet crashed in Death Valley, and the pilot is still missing.
The crash also injured seven park visitors…here's what we know so far about this horrible crash: pic.twitter.com/dfJCu7f6oR
— Kimberly Kolliner (@KimberlyFOX26) August 1, 2019
A rescue team from the base and local officials are on the scene of the crash, Bock told USNI News.
US Naval Air Forces had issued a tweet earlier Wednesday confirming a crash had taken place.
“At approximately 10:00 a.m PST an F/A-18E crashed near @NAWS_CL. Search-and-rescue efforts are underway,” Naval Air Forces tweeted from its verified Twitter account.
A spokesperson for the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Carma Roper, told CNN that they were helping to secure the area until the military arrived on scene.
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is located in the Western Mojave Desert region of California and is approximately 125 miles north of Los Angeles.
The F/A-18 strike fighter forms the backbone of the Navy’s jet fleet and the Super Hornet variant became operational in 2001.
Photo credit: ABC7 news