The U.S. Navy has confirmed that the pilot of the F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter aircraft involved in the mishap in ‘Star Wars Canyon’ on July 31 died in the crash.
The identity of the pilot will be withheld until 24 hours following notification of next of kin in accordance with Department of Defense policy, according to the Navy statement.
A F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the ‘Vigilantes’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, crashed approximately 40 miles north of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California at approximately 10 a.m. PST on July 31. The aircraft was on a routine training mission in the area at the time.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.
“The Navy mourns the loss of one of our own, and our hearts go out to the family and friends affected by this tragedy”, the statement added.
Star Wars Canyon, officially called Rainbow Canyon, is a canyon inside Death Valley National Park in Inyo County, California, on the park’s western border. It is commonly used by the U.S. Air Force and Navy for fighter jet training and is frequented by photographers who, from the canyon rim, are able to photograph jets flying beneath them.