A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet crashed Wednesday near Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California, according to the U.S. Navy officials.
The US Navy has confirmed a single-seater F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter aircraft crashed in Inyo County at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. It is unknown if the pilot is injured.
“At approximately 10 a.m. PST, a F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the ‘Vigilantes’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, crashed east of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California,” said Joint Strike Fighter Wing public affairs officer. Lt. Cmdr. Lydia Bock.
A search-and-rescue helicopter was dispatched to the scene from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake about 10 a.m., according to Commander Ron Flanders, a spokesman for U.S. Naval Air Forces.
According to ABC News, the military plane had crashed on the west side of Death Valley near Father Crowley Overlook in an area known as Star Wars Canyon.
The area has been used for military training flights since the 1930s, Taylor said, and regularly attracts tourists who want to get a glimpse of military pilots in action weaving through the narrow canyon in maneuvers reminiscent of the Star Wars movie.
There are reports that visitors at the park have suffered minor injuries, a spokesperson for Death Valley National Park said.
At approximately 10:00 a.m PST an F/A-18E crashed near @NAWS_CL. Search-and-rescue efforts are underway.
— flynavy (@flynavy) July 31, 2019
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is a large military installation whose mission is to support the research, testing and evaluation programs of the U.S. Navy. It is part of Navy Region Southwest under Commander, Navy Installations Command.
A few weeks ago Naval Air Weapons Station China was closed after one of the largest earthquakes to hit Southern California since the early ’90s. But later, base resumed normal flight operations.