U.S. Navy fighter jet crashes off Key West, pilot rescued

A U.S. Navy F-5N Tiger II fighter jet crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Key West while conducting training operations.

The pilot was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard when his emergency smoke trail was spotted from the air. He was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center and is reportedly in good condition.

The pilot, who was not identified, is assigned to Fighter Squadron Composite 111. He did not suffer significant injuries, according to the U.S. Naval Reserve.

The Navy sources said that the initial report of the crash was received at 12:38 p.m and confirmed pilot ejected before the aircraft crashed.

The Coast Guard was notified just after 1 p.m. that a Navy jet pilot was in the water, around 20 nautical miles southeast of Key West, and needed help. The pilot had shot off an emergency smoke signal and was spotted around 1:15 p.m.

The search-and-rescue team included a Coast Guard Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

According to Fox News, the jet’s crash-landing now marks 13 non-combat crashes of U.S. military aircraft in 2017 – up more than 50 percent during the last year

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