A US Navy warplane has crashed into Philippine waters, the second crash in less than a month involving the USS Ronald Reagan.
The aircraft, an F/A 18 Hornet, had a mechanical problem during routine operations over the Philippine Sea, the Navy’s Seventh Fleet said in a statement today (Monday, November 12).
Last month, an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter, also assigned to the aircraft carrier, crashed shortly after takeoff, injuring 12 sailors.
Today’s statement from the Navy said: “The crew was immediately and safely recovered by USS Ronald Reagan search and rescue aircraft and brought back to the ship for evaluation by medical personnel. Both aviators are in good condition.
“Ronald Reagan has resumed normal operations.”
Maintenance of the Navy’s Hornet planes has been the focus of questions recently. At a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in January, General Robert B Neller, commandant of the Marines, said: “In fact right now we’ve got too many Hornets; we’ve got too many airplanes. We need to get rid of them because we don’t have time to fix them.”
Last year, two of the Seventh Fleet’s commanders were forced out after two collisions between Navy destroyers and commercial ships resulted in the deaths of 17 sailors.
Naval investigators said the collisions were “avoidable” and resulted from a series of crew and basic navigational errors.
“Many of the decisions made that led to this incident were the result of poor judgment and decision-making of the commanding officer,” officials concluded in a report on the June 2017 collision between the destroyer Fitzgerald and a container ship near Japan in which seven sailors lost their lives.
Two months later, another destroyer, the USS John S McCain, collided with an oil tanker near Singapore, leaving 10 sailors dead.
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