Fri, Dec 03, 2004
Aircraft Lost When New Blue Punches Out, Investigation
A new member of the US
Navy Blue Angel Flight Demonstration Squadron safely ejected
from his F/A-18 Hornet near Perdido Key off the coast of Pensacola,
FL at approximately 1445 local time, Wednesday.
The aircraft, operating from Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL,
was flying a routine training mission and was approximately 10
miles from the base when the incident occurred. The pilot,
identified as Lieutenant Ted Steelman of Star, Idaho, is in
good condition and is still being evaluated, according to a
statement from the Navy.
For more than 24 hours after the accident, the
Navy withheld the name of the pilot pending notification of
next of kin.
Seth Vice and his brother, Jody, were cleaning up debris from
Hurricane Ivan when they looked up to see a pair of blue-and-gold
F/A-18s fly overhead.
"They flew over the beach and were heading out over the water,"
Vice told the Mobile Register. "One of the jets started descending,
slowing down and smoke was coming out the back. He (the pilot)
ejected and the plane made a big splash and he descended on a
parachute. It was wild. I was kind of scared, thinking the guy was
hurt but hoping they would rescue him."
Indeed, authorities said the pilot was pulled from the 62-degree
water approximately ten minutes after the mishap.
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