Local Military News

Beaufort-based pilot, weapons system officer sustained minor injuries in F-18 crash

FILE: A pair of F-18s from VMFA-115 jet past in close formation at the Beaufort Air Show in May 2011.
FILE: A pair of F-18s from VMFA-115 jet past in close formation at the Beaufort Air Show in May 2011. Staff photo

Two members of Beaufort-based Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 were treated for minor injuries after ejecting from a fighter jet that crashed Sunday in Georgia, according to a news release from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

An investigation is underway into what caused the F/A-18 Hornet to crash during low-altitude tactics training.

The pilot, Maj. Roy Nicka, and the weapons systems officer, 1st. Lt. Robert Reynolds, ejected and parachuted to the ground. They were treated for minor injuries at the South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta.

The plane flew out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and crashed near Statenville, Ga., in the Moody MOA, a military operations area, which is air space designated for military flight operations, according to the release.

The aircraft went down in wooded, swampy terrain about 30 miles east of Valdosta.

Requests for information from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort on Sunday night and Monday were not responded to.

The crash site has been cordoned off by military officials. Personnel from Moody Air Force Base's 23rd Wing are providing site security, while members of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing are assembled for recovery operations, according to the release.

Efforts are underway to recover as much of the plane as possible, and the investigation into the cause may take several months.

"Information will be gathered from many sources, including all sources known to have any link to the mishap flight, in effort to determine the cause of the mishap and to help our aviators avoid similar mishaps in the future," according to the release.

Any witnesses are asked to contact the 2nd MAW public affairs office at 252-466-4241 or chpt.jpao.omb@usmc.mil to provide information.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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