69°F
weather icon Clear

Navy pilot killed in fighter jet collision

FALLON — One pilot was killed but two others parachuted to safety after two U.S. Navy fighter jets collided Friday while flying a routine training mission over Northern Nevada’s high desert.

Two pilots safely ejected from a two-seater F-5 Tiger and were rescued about 50 miles east of the Fallon Naval Air Station, said Zip Upham, base public affairs officer.

They were reported in stable condition at Banner Churchill Medical Center in Fallon where they were being treated for minor injuries.

The other pilot of a one-seater F/A-18C Hornet initially was reported as missing after the two aircraft collided about noon near the town of Middlegate, about 110 miles east of Reno, Upham said.

Jeffery Wells, chief master communication specialist at the base, confirmed Friday night that the third pilot had died. He had been assigned to the “Valions” of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-15 based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va.

Names were being withheld pending notification of relatives, Wells said.

The other two pilots were assigned to the “Saints” of Fighter Squadron Composite VFC-13 based at Naval Air Station Fallon.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, Wells said.

Both jets had taken off from the air station in Fallon.

Travis Anderton of Middlegate said he had seen the two jets before the crash.

“Then I heard a crash, looked up and saw them coming out of the sky, falling,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Then it was smoke and you couldn’t see any more.”

Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Chuck Allen said some of the wreckage crashed about a mile from U.S. Highway 50, but he had no other details.

The F-5 Tiger is a Vietnam-era fighter aircraft. The F/A-18C Hornet, which was used in Operation Desert Storm, is a fighter-attack aircraft that can carry air-to-air missiles and infrared imaging air-to-ground missiles.

Naval Air Station, Fallon, about 60 miles east of Reno, is home to the Navy’s elite Strike and Air Warfare Center.

The center was formed in 1996 with the consolidation of the Navy fighter Weapons School known as “Top Gun” and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School, or “Top Dome.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Democrats delay national convention until August

Prospective nominee Joe Biden said he didn’t think it would be possible to hold a normal convention in mid-July because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Infections, deaths surge at US nursing homes amid lockdowns

Nursing homes have been in lockdown for weeks under orders to protect their residents from coronavirus, but a wave of deadly outbreaks since suggests that the measures including a ban either came too late or were not rigorous enough.

COVID-19 toll: Millions jobless, tens of thousands dead

The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked the Pentagon for 100,000 body bags because of the possibility funeral homes will be overwhelmed, the military said.

Man derails train near hospital ship, officials say

The suspect said he was suspicious of the Mercy and believed it had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover.