Two crew members were killed when an F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed into the sea off the coast of Key West on Wednesday afternoon, military officials have confirmed. The aircraft, which was based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, was on approach, about a mile from the runway at Boca Chica Field, at about 4:30 p.m., after completing a training mission. A local resident, Barbie Wilson, told Military.com she had stopped to watch the F/A-18 flying overhead. “Literally, the wings went vertical, and there was a fireball, and it just literally dropped out of the sky,” Wilson said. She said she didn’t see the crew eject from the airplane. She later saw the wreckage upside down in the water near the shore.
A Navy spokesman told Military.com the pilot and a weapons systems officer had ejected, and were recovered from the water within minutes and taken by ambulance to a medical center, where they were declared dead. The Navy is investigating to determine the cause of the crash.