Civilian pilot hospitalized after jet crashes off Honolulu coast during military exercise

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over rescue boats at the scene of a Hawker Hunter crash off Honolulu, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018.


By WYATT OLSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 12, 2018

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — A civilian pilot was hospitalized Wednesday after his plane crashed about five miles off the coast of Honolulu during a military exercise by the Hawaii Air National Guard, military officials said.

The pilot, a civilian contractor flying in conjunction with the Sentry Aloha exercise, ejected from the Hawker Hunter aircraft about 2:30 p.m., according to a statement issued by Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the staging area for the drills.

The pilot, who has not been identified, was rescued by a sailboat, transferred to a Coast Guard boat and then taken to a hospital.

The 47-year-old “appeared to have traumatic injuries,” Honolulu Emergency Services spokesman Dustin Malama told The Associated Press.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Sentry Aloha drills have been temporarily suspended, the statement said.

Sentry Aloha began Dec. 5 and had been slated to run through Dec. 19. It is a large-scale fighter-jet exercise hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing, involving more than 800 personnel and 30 aircraft from nine states.

Eyewitnesses with information or video of the crash are being asked to contact the Hawaii National Guard at 808-441-7000.

The British Hawker Hunter jet was developed for the Royal Air Force in the early 1950s and broke a world speed record of 727 mph in 1953.

Originally used as an air interceptor, the aircraft was later modified and re-equipped for ground attack and reconnaissance missions.

Twitter: @WyattWOlson

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