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Pilot killed in US military jet crash in San Diego

A pilot was killed when a US fighter jet crashed near a military base in California, the US Marine Corps confirmed on Friday.

The F/A-18 Hornet jet crashed just before midnight local time near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Thursday, about 15 miles (24km) from the centre of San Diego.

Search personnel found the body of the pilot, who has not been identified.

The Marine Corps has launched an investigation into the incident.

“The pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft,” Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar said in a statement. “With a heavy heart, our condolences go to the Marine’s family during this time.”

MCAS Miramar said the crash site was on government property located just east of the base.

There were no indications of damage to property on the ground, the MCAS said.

The aircraft that crashed belonged to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, a South Carolina-based unit known as the “Fighting Bengals”.

At the time of the incident, however, it was operating from Miramar.

F/A-18 Hornet jets – used both by the Marine Corps and the US Navy – are all-weather fighter and attack aircraft.

The first variants of the aircraft entered service with the Marines in 1983, and with the Navy the following year.

While crashes involving military fighter jets are rare, they do occur periodically. In 2015, an F/A-18 belonging to the same unit crashed into a swampy area in Georgia while conducting low-altitude training. The pilot and a weapons systems officer both ejected and were treated with minor injuries.

In another incident in 2012, a Navy F/A-18 crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach, Virginia, injuring seven people.

Four years earlier, in 2008, an F/A-18 operating from Miramar crashed into a residential area in San Diego, killing four people on the ground. The pilot ejected and survived the incident.

Source: BBC