On Aug. 19, Navy Sailors and Divers completed a search-and-salvage operation to recover a downed F-16 fighter jet that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean after a training exercise gone wrong, according to a Navy press release. In a search effort that took seven days, Navy Sailors used sonar to pinpoint the jet’s location off the coast of Virginia, 35 miles southeast of Chincoteague.
Salvage Operation Handled by Navy Divers
After finding the aircraft and recovering some debris from the wreckage, Navy Sailors turned over the salvage operation to Navy Divers, who recovered the jet piece by piece from a 107-foot depth. The jet’s flight data recorder, or “black box,” was found during this process and was taken to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to be examined by the Air Force’s Safety Investigation Board.
How Did the F-16 End up in the Ocean?
In a routine training mission gone wrong, two F-16 fighter jets clipped wings in mid-air on Aug. 1, sending one of the aircraft — and its pilot — into the ocean.
The DC Air National Guard pilot who was manning the fallen aircraft ejected before the crash and was rescued by the Coast Guard after being found on an emergency life raft, according to NewsChannel 3 / WTKR.com. He sustained a broken leg from the incident. The pilot of the other F-16 was able to fly back to Maryland after the collision.
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