Two Marine Corps fighter jets crashed during a training exercise off the coast of California Wednesday.
The F/A-18 Hornets from the Third Marine Aircraft Wing of the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego collided during a drill over the Pacific Ocean, reports The Associated Press.
The two aircraft were reportedly part of the “Black Knights” of Fighter Attack Squadron 314.
After the 11:43 a.m. PST accident, one pilot was able to land at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. The other, however, was forced to eject into the water. The latter was rescued by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Both pilots are safe and in stable condition.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The U.S. has lost numerous F/A-18 Hornets this year, pointing to combat readiness challenges.
Around 10 F/A-18 Hornets have been involved in accidents. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 alone has lost three Hornets. Millions of dollars, as well as the lives of several pilots, have been lost as a result of these repeated accidents.
The number of Hornets available for training purposes is now well below the requirement.
“If you don’t have the money and you don’t have the parts and you don’t have the maintenance, then you fly less,” Marine Corps General John Paxton explained to the Senate Committee on Armed Services in March. “If you fly less and maintain slower, there’s a higher likelihood of accidents.”
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