- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two F/A-18 fighter jets crashed off the coast of North Carolina on Thursday, according to the Coast Guard, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported late Thursday morning.

“[F]our people have been recovered and are being taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital,” U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Fagal Nifin told the paper.

U.S. Navy fighter jets based at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach frequently train in the area.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday afternoon that all four Navy aviators involved in the crash were quickly rescued, two from a nearby commercial fishing vessel and the others by the Coast Guard, which was already in the area on a training exercise. “All four were flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital by Coast Guard helicopters,” the paper reported.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Krystyn Pecora described the retrieval of the sailors from the water as “a textbook rescue.”

All four servicemen involved in the crash “are in very high spirits,” Lt. Cmdr. Pecora told the Virginian-Pilot. “We’re just so happy we can bring these Navy service members home to their families.”

Citing a statement by the Navy, the Norfolk newspaper noted that “[t]he jets were assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 211 at Oceana Naval Air Station and were on a routine training mission when the crash occurred.”

Contrary to an initial report, the Coast Guard now describes the incident not as a collision but a “mid-air mishap.”

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