Navy fighter pilot ejects safely before jet crashes in eastern Kern County

A Navy fighter jet crashed near Ridgecrest, Calif.
A Navy fighter jet crashed near Ridgecrest, Calif., on Tuesday.
(Los Angeles Times)

A Navy fighter pilot ejected safely from a jet before it crashed late Tuesday morning in eastern Kern County, authorities said.

The F/A-18E Super Hornet jet from the Lemoore Naval Air Station crashed during a routine training flight in the Superior Valley, just south of China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, according to a statement by the Lemoore station.

The pilot was taken to a medical facility for examination, according to Navy officials. No information on the pilot’s condition was available.


Officials with the Kern County Fire Department confirmed that an aircraft went down shortly before noon near Highway 14 and Highway 178 in Ridgecrest.

The crash sparked a brush fire that has since been extinguished, said Andrew Freeborn, Kern County Fire Department spokesman.

The California Highway Patrol was directing traffic in the area, and drivers can expect the highways to be affected for “at least some time,” Freeborn said shortly after the crash.

Freeborn said the Navy and local law enforcement agencies will be working with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Authority as they investigate the crash.