10 Hurt In Jet Explosion Off SD Coast

By R. Stickney and Michelle Wayland
|  Thursday, Mar 31, 2011  |  Updated 9:43 AM PDT
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10 Hurt In Jet Explosion Off SD Coast

Jesse Anderson

The Stennis is about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego.

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One of the sailors hospitalized after the engine of a fighter jet exploded aboard a Navy aircraft carrier off San Diego's coast was released Thursday.

An explosion and fire occurred Wednesday around 2:50 p.m. as an F/A-18C Hornet prepared for takeoff from the flight deck of the USS John C. Stennis, according to Cmdr. Pauline Storum.

The blast injured ten sailors working on the flight deck near the jet according to a U.S. Pacific Fleet news release.

The aircraft was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the Associated Press reports.

The fire was quickly extinguished but still caused damage. Storum says the Hornet sustained at least a million dollars' worth of damage.

Four sailors were flown to Naval Medical Center San Diego. One was released Thursday according to Naval Air Forces Lt. Aaron V. Kakiel. The others were listed in stable condition.

Six others were treated for non-burn injuries on board the carrier Kakiel said. Earlier reports stated  the sailors treated on the ship suffered burns. 

Storum says none of the injuries are life threatening. The injured sailors have not been identified.

The pilot was not hurt.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"I am extremely proud of our crew," Stennis Commanding Officer Capt Ronald Reis was quoted in the Pacific Fleet's release. "The flight deck of an aircraft carrier is an inherently dangerous place, but our personnel are well-trained to operate safely in this environment. They responded quickly, professionally and with purpose, extinguishing the aircraft engine fire."

The Bremerton-based Stennis was conducting qualification flights for pilots and crews about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego.

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