The Navy F/A-18E Pilot who ejected off the Virginia Coast (courtesy WVEC)
By WVEC 13 News Now
VIRGINIA BEACH -- The pilot of an F/A-18E was rescued safely after ejecting from his aircraft during a routine training mission off the Virginia Beach coast Wednesday.
According to Naval Air Force Atlantic Commander Mike Kafka, the life raft deployed after the pilot ejected.
The pilot was rescued by a civilian fishing vessel, Kafka said. The pilot was conscious and transported to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital by a Navy MH-60 Sea Hawk.
Kafka tells 13News Now the pilot is in critical condition.
The F/A-18E is a single seated aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron One Four Three (VFA-143) based at Naval Air Station Oceana.
The USCG says they were called around 2:30 p.m. to look for Navy aircraft debris about 45 miles from Virginia Beach.
USCG Cutter Albacore and Elm are heading to the scene, officials said.
The crash comes one week after a Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon went down in the Atlantic. The body of Lt. Sean Christopher Snyder was found in the wreckage. Two sailors died from their injuries. Two other crewmembers were treated and released.