Navy confirms pilot died in California crash

National

FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2017 file photo, an F/A-18D Hornet from the VX-9 Vampire squadron at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, flies out of what is known as Star Wars Canyon toward the Panamint range in Death Valley National Park, Calif. On Wednesday, July 31, 2019 a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet jet crashed Wednesday in the California desert and a search-and-rescue operation was underway, officials said. The single-seat warplane went down at 9:50 a.m. during a routine training mission north of the China Lake base. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

LEEMORE, Cal. (AP) — The U.S. Navy says it has confirmed the death of the pilot in the crash of a fighter jet in the California desert.

The Navy says in a statement Thursday that the pilot’s identity will be withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin in accordance with Defense Department policy.

The aircraft belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-151 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California’s Central Valley.

The single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed Wednesday morning in a canyon in Death Valley National Park where military aircraft conduct low-level training.

Seven tourists on the ground were treated for minor injuries.

The Navy says the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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