Navy officials say they are not sure if two fighter jets collided before they crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the North Carolina coast on Thursday.
Naval Air Force Atlantic spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Tiffani Walker said the two F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters were involved in an “in-flight mishap” Thursday morning off Cape Hatteras. She said she could not provide further details, but that an investigation is underway.
The Coast Guard had initially said the jets collided in air before crashing.
A Coast Guard spokeswoman says the four crew members on board the two jet fighters suffered minor injuries, but are in “very high spirits.” Lt. Cmdr. Krystyn Pecora told reporters Thursday that officials are “happy to have brought everyone home safely.”
A photo taken by The Virginian-Pilot newspaper shows two of the aviators walking off a rescue helicopter after arriving at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
The newspaper reported the jets are assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 211 based at southeastern Virginia’s Naval Air Station Oceana and were conducting routine training.
The Coast Guard said a fishing vessel crew rescued the four survivors 25 miles east of Oregon Inlet. The Coast Guard’s Fifth District Command Center was notified that two planes had collided and four people were in the water. The crew of the fishing vessel Tammy recovered all four survivors.
A helicopter from the Coast Guard’s air station in Elizabeth City plucked the survivors from the deck of the Tammy.
A safety investigation will be carried out to determine the cause of the accident, he said.