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United States Navy

Naval Air Station Lemoore

F/A-18F Super Hornet

serial ??

Monday 18th July 2005 11:29h approx

 

Pilot

 

Lt. Noel Sawatzky (VFA) 14 - USS Nimitz - moderate injuries

 

WSO

 

Lt. John Bonenfant (VFA) 122 Lemoore NAS - moderate injuries

United States Navy

(VFA) 122
Naval Air Station Lemoore

F/A-18E  Hornet

serial ??

Monday 18th July 2005 11:29h approx

Pilot

Lt. Bruce L. Clark (VFA) 122 Lemoore NAS fatal injuries - body recovered Tuesday 19th July 2005 - no confirmation as to whether Lt. Clark ejected.

 (all photos via USN )

Two USN F-18 Super Hornets from Naval Air Station Lemoore were involved in a mid-air collision at approximately 11:29a.m. over the Mojave Desert north-east of Ridgecrest. The two seat F/A-18F crew ejected.

The pilot of the single seat aircraft, Lt. Bruce L. Clark, is believed to have died at the scene of the crash and his body was recovered from near the crash site of his Super Hornet jet in rugged desert terrain on Tuesday, 20th July, 2005 at approximately 12:00h. It is not clear whether ejection was initiated.

Pilot Lt. Noel Sawatzky (on transit from (VFA)-14 USS Nimitz and his WSO Lt. John Bonenfant were recovered by rescue crews from China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station who were dispatched to the desert about 11:30 a.m. Monday.  Both were taken to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and were in serious condition. Later they were transferred by helicopter to the trauma center at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield were their injuries were said to be moderate.

Fire caused by the crash of the two F-18s over the China Lake ranges