MIAMI (WSVN) - A U.S. Navy pilot was rescued off Key West after his F-5 jet encountered a technical problem that forced him to eject, officials said.
According to the Naval Air Station Key West Public Affairs Office, the incident occurred 25 miles off shore, shortly after takeoff from Naval Air Station Key West’s Boca Chica Field, at around 9:20 a.m., Wednesday.
The pilot is assigned to a fighter squadron, flying adversary planes against other fighter pilots in mock dogfights.
Within minutes of the pilot’s ejection, a Naval Air Station Key West search-and-rescue operation launched a helicopter to locate and retrieve the pilot.
Fortunately, the pilot was located and rescued, avoiding any serious injuries.
He was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center for further evaluation and treatment. Despite the harrowing ordeal, the pilot remains responsive.
Quick thinking and rescue efforts made this outcome possible. The pilot was seen walking away from the rescue helicopter and embracing another official.
Authorities have confirmed that the pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft at the time of the incident. The cause of the jet’s technical issue remains under investigation.
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