2 Safe as F-14 Crashes in Arabian Sea

United Press International

A Navy F-14A jet fighter, its cockpit filled with smoke and flames, crashed into the Arabian Sea on Monday after its two crewmen ejected safely, a Navy spokesman said. It was the fifth F-14 crash this month.

The crewmen attempted to return to the aircraft carrier Carl Vincent after the smoke and flames appeared but were soon forced to eject, said Lt. Cmdr. Bob Pritchard of Miramar Naval Air Station, the jet's home base.

The fliers, whose names were withheld, were rescued by a helicopter at sea 10 miles from the carrier. They rejoined their squadron after a medical examination, Pritchard said.

Pritchard said the incident occurred in the north Arabian Sea, but the exact location was not immediately known.

The cause of the crash was still under investigation, but early evidence did not show that Monday's incident or the four other F-14A crashes this month were related to mechanical problems, Pritchard said.

He said there are no plans to ground the jets until the causes of the crashes are pinpointed.

Monday's crash was the 101st loss of an F-14 since the Grumman-manufactured aircraft was first deployed by the Navy in 1972.

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