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U.S. Navy jet crashes in the Mojave Desert, pilot safely ejects

Fighter Jet Crash
Navy Jet Plane Crash
Navy Jet Plane Crash
Navy Jet Plane Crash
Navy Jet Plane Crash
Navy Jet Plane Crash
Posted at 10:38 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 13:48:20-04

INYOKERN, Calif. — LATEST: The United States Navy is continuing its investigation to determine what caused a fighter jet to crash in eastern Kern County.

According to naval officials, a pilot flying a super hornet from Naval Air Station Lemoore was on a routine training flight when they experienced a "mishap" just south of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. The pilot was able to eject, was given a medical exam, and released from a hospital.

The Bureau of Land Management has issued an emergency closure order around the crash site to allow for a complete investigation.


(AP) — The Navy said a fighter jet has crashed in the Mojave Desert, but its pilot safely ejected.

The F/A-18E Super Hornet (similar to the one pictured below) from Naval Air Station Lemoore in California’s Central Valley went down Tuesday in Superior Valley south of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

F/A-18E Super Hornet, Thomas P. McGee
FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2017, file photo, vapor trails are seen forming on an F/A-18E Super Hornet over Death Valley National Park, Calif. The Navy says a fighter jet has crashed in the Mojave Desert but its pilot safely ejected. The F/A-18E Super Hornet from Naval Air Station Lemoore in California's Central Valley went down Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Superior Valley south of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

The Lemoore base said the pilot was taken to a local medical facility for examination.

The statement said the flight was a routine training mission. The Navy says it's cooperating with local authorities.

China Lake is about 115 miles north of Los Angeles. Lemoore is about 135 miles northwest of China Lake.


UPDATE (12:40 PM): The U.S. Naval Air Station in Lemoore announced that the crash near China Lake happened during a routine training flight and the pilot was able to safely eject from the jet. Officials said the pilot was taken to a nearby medical facility for examination and the U.S. Navy is cooperating fully with local authorities.


UPDATE (11:07 AM): The California Highway Patrol has confirmed that the plane that crashed was a U.S. Navy fighter jet. No additional details are available at this time.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Mick Gleason received news of the crash up near China Lake. Gleason immediately left the meeting to respond to the emergency.

Supervisor Mick Gleason receives call about fighter jet crash during meeting


The Kern County Fire Department said it is at the scene of a plane crash that happened west of Ridgecrest, at the crossing of highways 178 and 14.

According to KCFD, the crash has sparked a small brush fire in the area. Units from the China Lake station are assisting.

Information is limited at the time. KCFD could not yet confirm the type of plane, how many people were on board, or any injuries.

23ABC has a crew en route to the scene.

This is a developing story. We will update it as more information becomes available.