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An investigation is under way after an F/A-18C Hornet fighter jet pilot from Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, Japan, ejected moments before his aircraft crashed Tuesday near Tindal Royal Australian Air Force base in Australia.

Maj. George L. Pavey, 34, from the “Lancers” of Fixed Wing Fighter Attack Squadron 212, was rescued by an Australian military helicopter, the Associated Press reported, citing Australian defense spokesman Michael Weaver. Pavey was taken to the RAAF base’s medical clinic and later released, said Capt. Stewart Upton, Iwakuni spokesman.

Pavey, commissioned in 1992, began service in Iwakuni in July 2003. Upton said the pilot was “conducting routine training” during an air-to-ground training exercise, Southern Frontier, held in an unpopulated area. The exercise schedule for the approximately 200 servicemembers taking part would not be altered, Upton said Wednesday morning.

The aircraft crashed about 9.3 miles from the base; an exclusion zone was placed around the accident site, Upton said. The base is south of Katherine in the Northern Territory outback.

Officials would not speculate on the cause of the crash.

After moving to Iwakuni permanently in 1997, the Lancers deployed in April 2002 to the Middle East in support of Operation Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom, according to the base Web site.

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