Navy F-18 jet crashes in Key West

Navy F-18 jet crashes in Key West

Fighter Jet Crashes Off Key West, Florida - US Navy (PHOTOS)

A search and rescue effort is underway near Key West, Fla., for a pilot who was able to eject from his U.S. Navy F/A-18 fighter jet before the plane crashed.

Officials say both the pilot and the weapons systems specialist were taken to the hospital after they ejected from the jet, but couldn't confirm their status.

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The officials say the crew is based out of Naval Air Station Oceana, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

A witness told Miami's ABC affiliate the F/A-18 exploded in the air and crashed.

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Photos posted on Twitter show a rescue helicopter hovering over the F-18.

In November, the head of Naval Aviation told Congress that only half the Navy's 542 F-18 Super Hornet jets can fly right now and only 31 percent are fully mission capable and ready to "fight tonight". "Then it went a little sideways, then I saw fire, and then it just literally dropped out of the sky", Wilson said.

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The jet was from the VFA-213 Blacklions squadron. The squadron was completing a detachment to Naval Air Station Key West.

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