Navy suspends search for missing pilot after jet collision

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(Photo: PO3 Jonathen Davis/U.S. Navy)

(Photo: PO3 Jonathen Davis/U.S. Navy)

(CNN) — The Navy has suspended search and rescue efforts for a pilot who was involved in a plane crash over the western Pacific Ocean.

Two U.S. fighter jets collided on Thursday while operating at sea.

The missing and unidentified pilot is presumed dead, the Navy said in a press release on Saturday. One pilot was rescued, treated and has been released from the ship’s medical facilities.

“This is an exceptionally difficult time for the friends and family of the missing pilot and the Navy community,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Grady, commander of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy.”

The cause of the crash is under investigation, the Navy said. The jets have not been recovered.

The two jets crashed about 290 miles (470 kilometers) west of Wake Island, Navy 7th Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Cole told CNN. Wake Island is more than 2,400 miles west of Hawaii.

A Navy cruiser, destroyer, carrier and helicopters took part in what the Navy called an “extensive” search for the missing pilot that lasted more than 36 hours.

The two F/A-18 Hornets were operating from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, the Navy said. The collision occurred about seven miles away, the Navy said.

Both jets are from Carrier Air Wing 17, the Navy said, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 and Strike Fighter Squadron 113.

CNN’s Jamie Crawford contributed to this report.

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