Coast Guard rescues Navy pilot from waters southeast of Key West
A U.S. Navy pilot crashed his fighter jet into the ocean off Key West Wednesday and was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
“He was reported to have no significant injuries,” according to a Naval Air Force Reserve brief statement that did not identify the pilot but said he is assigned to Fighter Squadron Composite VFC 111, known as the Sundowners and based at Naval Air Station Key West.
Reports of the jet’s downing came in at 12:38 p.m. and the incident remains under investigation. The pilot was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center for evaluation.
He ejected from his F5-N Tiger II tactical fighter aircraft about 20 nautical miles southeast of NAS Key West and “was quickly recovered by a Coast Guard helicopter at approximately 1:15 p.m.,” the statement read.
The Coast Guard said it was notified at 1:07 p.m. that a jet was in the water and needed help and arrived on the scene at 1:15 p.m.
The helicopter crew saw an emergency smoke signal and located the pilot in the water, the Coast Guard said. “The rescue crew hoisted the pilot from the water and brought him back to Lower Keys Medical Center in good condition,” the agency said.
The F5 is an aircraft known to have been used by the Navy to act as the enemy during training exercises.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen