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USCG: Two Marine Pilots Rescued in the Ocean

A Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot and his weapons officer tried to make it back home after both engines on their warplane failed and a fire broke out, but they were forced to eject and ditch the aircraft in the ocean

“The fire was making its way toward the cockpit, so they determined they could not make it back and they were forced to eject,” said Marine Corps spokesman Gunnery Sgt. Chad McMeen.

The two Marine Corps fighter pilots have been rescued from the ocean off South Carolina after their aircraft went down.

The U.S. Coast Guard says it was notified by the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort at about 5:17 p.m. Wednesday that two pilots aboard a Marine F/A-18D Hornet went down about 35 miles off the coast.

Authorities say two parachutes were spotted, indicating that the pilots had ejected. A Coast Guard helicopter from Charleston rescued the pilots about an hour after the crash.

“It really was a miracle. They were back on land within about two hours of the incident,” McMeen said.

Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Christopher P. Evanson says neither pilot needed to be hospitalized.

An investigation will begin into why the $29 million fighter jet suffered the engine failures.

McMeen said the two detected a problem while they were conducting a training mission about 60 miles off shore. The aircraft hit the water about 35 miles off the coast of St. Helena Sound north of Beaufort.

A Coast Guard cutter has been patrolling the crash site to help locate and recover pieces of the plane, he said.

from AP and Winston-Salem Journal

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