A US Navy pilot and a Weapon System Officer ejected from the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet they were flying over the Philippine Sea on Thursday, June 18th 2020 a little after 10 pm local time. The aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing 11 had departed the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier (CVN-71) for a routine pilot proficiency training shortly prior to the incident. A search and rescue helicopter dispatched from the Theodore Roosevelt was able to rescue both crews. An investigation looking into the cause of the accident has been started.
This accident has taken place only three days after a US Air Force F-15C assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing’s 493rd Fighter Squadron based at RAF Lakenheath base in the United Kingdom crashed while on a routine training mission off Yorkshire’s North Sea coast. The body of the pilot, Major Taj Sareen who lost his life during the crash was only recovered hours after.
The crash of the Super Hornet is part of a tumultuous series of events for the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The boat which had suffered a severe outbreak of COVID-19 that killed a sailor and infected 1,273 others, was only cleared to return to sea on June 4th after being immobilised at the Navy base in Guam for weeks.