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U.S. Navy jet crashes into ocean off the Virginia coast

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A pilot was rescued after his U.S. Navy fighter jet crashed off the coast of Virginia on Wednesday, Navy officials confirmed.

The F/A-18E Super Hornet jet went down 45 miles from Oceana, Va., home to a base that hosts the Navy's East Coast attack-fighter fleet, Navy officials said.

The pilot ejected and was rescued, officials said. Cmdr. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces Atlantic in Norfolk, Va., told the Associated Press that the crash happened at 2:35 p.m. and that the pilot was first rescued by a fisherman.

Another Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that the pilot was conscious when he was taken to a local hospital.

His condition was not immediately known, the spokesman said, adding that the cause of the crash was under investigation.

The single-seat jet belonged to Fighter Squadron 143 based in Oceana.

The F/A-18 is a twin-engine fighter jet made by Boeing Co. that has been a fixture on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers since 1983. The plane is flown by the Blue Angels, the Navy's flying aerobatic team.

The Super Hornet version of the aircraft became operational in 2001.

The aircraft’s fuselage sections are manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corp. in Los Angeles, in a 1-million-square-foot facility on Aviation Boulevard, about a mile south of Los Angeles International Airport.

Wednesday's crash comes one week after an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed in the Atlantic Ocean about 18 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Three of the helicopter's five crew members were killed in the incident, which happened during a training mission. The final crew member's body was recovered Tuesday.

Michael Muskal contributed to this report.

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