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Pilot dead after fighter plane crashes near Port Hueneme in Ventura County

Military plane crashes east of Pacific Coast Highway in Port Hueneme. Pilot confirmed dead

The pilot of a commercially owned military jet died Wednesday after his plane crashed just east of Pacific Coast Highway in Port Hueneme, officials said.

The Hawker Hunter MK-58 was operated by Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., a Navy contractor that simulates threats during training missions, said Kimberly Gearhart, a spokeswoman for Naval Base Ventura County.

It crashed while approaching the base with the intention to land there, and the pilot was the only person aboard, she said.

A Ventura County Fire Department spokesman said the crash occurred in a field near Hueneme Road at 5:13 p.m. Ventura County sheriff's officers responded to the scene, he said.

ATAC spokesman Matt Bannon said all the company's pilots are former military pilots with at least 2,000 hours of flight experience.

The identity of the pilot in Wednesday's crash is being withheld pending notification of his family, Bannon said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, with the NTSB serving as the lead agency, according to FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer.

The Hawker Hunter is a swept-wing British fighter jet developed in the 1950s.

In May 2012, another Hawker Hunter crashed in the area, also leaving the pilot dead. That single-seatplane was based at Point Mugu Naval Air Station and went down in a field in Camarillo.

That plane also belonged to ATAC, a Naval Base Ventura County spokesman said at the time.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT and @raablauren for breaking news.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

8:44 p.m.: This post has been updated to add comments from Airborne Tactical Advantage Co. spokesman Matt Bannon. 

7:42 p.m.: This post has been updated to add information from a Naval Base Ventura County spokeswoman and to remove incorrect information from the FAA, which said earlier that two people were on the plane.

6:49 p.m.: This post has been updated with a comment from a Ventura County Fire Department spokeswoman and information about a 2012 crash.

6:24 p.m.: This post has been updated with information released by the FAA.

6:05 p.m.: This post has been updated with the death of the pilot.

This first version of this post was published at 5:45 p.m.

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