Two Marine Corps pilots are safe today after being rescued off the South Carolina coast by the United States Coast Guard. Late Wednesday afternoon the F/A-18D Hornet went down into the Atlantic Ocean about 35 miles off the shore of Beaufort.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Christopher Evanson explains what happened: “The Coast Guard was notified by the Marine Corps Air Station at approximately 5:17 that one of their planes had gone down. The initial information that we received is that both engines on that airplane had died as the plane was coming back ashore following a routine training exercise. At that point, the pilots ejected. We were given initial reports that there were two parachutes that were seen in the area,” says Evanson.
At that point the Coast Guard launched a rescue helicopter crew from Charleston and rescued the two pilots within 58 minutes of the inital call. As for today:
“The Marine Corps is conducting an investigation as to reasons why behind the crash. But, from what I understand the pilots were safe. As soon as we got back to shore there were no injuries, and our job from that point was done,” says Evanson.
The Coast Guard stayed on scene to recover any pieces of the plane to help out in the investigation.
(Evanson’s comments, MP3 :61)