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Two US Navy jets crash in western Pacific

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WASHINGTON (AFP): The US Navy suspended its search for a pilot who was missing after his jet collided with another US aircraft in the western Pacific Ocean.

The pilot, whose name was not released pending notification to the family, was presumed dead, the US 7th Fleet said in statement on Saturday.

The crash involved two US F/A-18 Hornet jets, which collided Friday at 5:40 pm local time in the western Pacific about 463 kilometers west of Wake Island, it said.

The Hornets -- neither of which have been recovered -- were from Carrier Air Wing 17 embarked on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

One pilot was quickly rescued and received medical care on the ship, but the search for the second airman stretched till yesterday with no success.

The "extensive search" involved multiple ships and helicopters, the Navy said.

The US 7th Fleet said the jets were assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 94 and Strike Fighter Squadron 113.

They had launched from the flight deck and were "proceeding to their initial stations when they apparently collided approximately seven miles from the ship."

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the accident.

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