Rescuers on Saturday have called off their search of the Pacific Ocean for a Navy fighter pilot whose jet was one of two that crashed west of Wake Island. The Navy said Saturday that it presumes the pilot is dead after failing to find him during a 36-hour search. The Navy declined to release the pilot's name pending notification of his family.
The search for the missing pilot involved the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, the guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley, the USS Sterett, the USS Dewey and two helicopter squadrons. The Carl Vinson strike group team departed San Diego on Aug. 22 for what was announced as a 9 1/2-month deployment.
The F/A-18C is a twin-engine, single-seat strike fighter, designed to function both as a fighter — in roles such as engaging enemy aircraft — and as an attack aircraft, bombing ground targets for example. Fifty-six feet long and with a wingspan of 40½ feet, Hornet C models have been deployed since the late 1980s. Built by contractor McDonnell Douglas, the jets are capable of flying at speeds greater than Mach 1.7 and altitudes of more than 50,000 feet, according to the Navy.