WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. Navy warplanes collided off the North Carolina coast on Thursday and crashed in the Atlantic, where the four crew were rescued by a commercial fishing boat and flown by helicopter to a Virginia hospital, the Coast Guard said.
The two F/A-18 fighter jets belonged to strike fighter squadron VFA-211, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, officials said. The crew members appeared to be in good condition, MSNBC reported, adding that one person had a leg injury.
“We had three Coast Guard helicopters, one Coast Guard C-130, naval vessel Mesa Verde, all involved in the rescue effort,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
The fishing boat Tammy recovered some of the crew about 25 miles (40 km) east of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, the Coast Guard said.
A Coast Guard helicopter from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, flew to the fishing vessel, hoisted the Navy fliers aboard and took them to Norfolk Sentara General hospital, the Coast Guard said.
Local TV images showed a second U.S. Coast Guard helicopter arriving at the local hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. Two service members wearing olive green jumpsuits and white helmets were seen walking without assistance toward the hospital alongside medical staff.
Reporting by Idrees Ali, David Alexander, Suzannah Gonzales, Letitia Stein, Susan Heavey and Megan Cassella; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Alan Crosby