Navy says crash killed pilot from USS Lincoln

Herald news services

MANAMA, Bahrain — The pilot of a Navy fighter jet that crashed into the Gulf shortly after takeoff from the Everett-based USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier has been declared dead, the Navy said Saturday.

The pilot of the F/A-18C Hornet strike fighter lost communication with the aircraft carrier soon after taking off at 9:30 a.m. Friday (11:30 p.m. Thursday PDT) for a routine test on carrier landings.

"We found some debris from the crash that killed the pilot and the search is now over," said Cmdr. Jeff Gradeck, spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. Gradeck would not say whether the pilot’s remains had been recovered.

The Lincoln left Everett Aug. 17, arriving in the gulf last Sunday9 to enforce United Nations sanctions against Iraq. The battle group was in the northeastern portion of the gulf Friday, but was not in the vicinity of Iraq, Petty Officer Charles Glenn, a spokesman for the Everett Naval Station, said Friday.

The ship lost radio contact with the pilot soon after a routine check-in, during which the pilot mentioned no problems, he said.

The single-seat fighter jet was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 14, based in Lemoore, Calif.

Authorities were withholding the pilot’s name until they could notify his closest relative, Gradeck said. The crash remained under investigation.

The Lincoln had 24 Hornets aboard. The Hornet, built by McDonnell Douglas, is a multirole attack and fighter aircraft.

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