Missing Fighter Jet Found, Crew Safe

One Marine was discovered sounding his distress whistle after four hours in the water

Search crews plucked two survivors from the ocean four hours after a military jet crashed off the coast of San Diego overnight.

The crew on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter heard the Marines yelling for help about 70 and 80 miles southwest of San Diego and about 35 miles off the coast. One was sounding his distress whistle.

The F/A-18 Hornet, based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, was flying with another aircraft when contact with the plane was lost around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Coast Guard spokesman Henry Dunphy.

Search and rescue teams, including aircraft, two Coast Guard cutters and a Navy ship, scoured the ocean early Thursday. They discovered the two Marines, the only crew onboard the aircraft, around 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Marines spent four hours in the water in fairly windy conditions. Skies were clear, offering good conditions for searching Dunphy said.

The survivors were conscious and in stable condition when they arrived at Balboa Naval Hospital he said.

There were reports of a debris field in the water but Dunphy could not provide details on damage to the aircraft.

The crewmembers have not been identified. It is not known where the fighter jet was headed or if the crew was conducting training at the time of the crash.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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