Pilot killed in US Navy fighter jet crash in California desert

Lieutenant Richard Bullock was flying a routine training mission before his aircraft went down in a remote, unpopulated area. PHOTO: US NAVY

LOS ANGELES (XINHUA) - A US Navy fighter jet crashed in the Southern California desert, killing the pilot, authorities confirmed on Sunday (June 5) night.

According to a press release from the US Navy, pilot Lieutenant Richard Bullock, who was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 based at the Naval Air Station Lemoore of California, was killed when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed in the vicinity of Trona, about 260km north of Los Angeles downtown, at approximately 2.30pm Friday local time.

Bullock was flying a routine training mission at the time before his aircraft went down in a remote, unpopulated area, the Navy said, adding no civilians were harmed as a result of this incident, which was under investigation and the scene of the crash had been secured by Navy and local authorities.

The crash site was near the Navy's test range at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, USNI News reported Monday, saying "the Navy uses China Lake and an area by Death Valley for pilot training. In the past three years, there have been three other crashes with one resulting in the death of the pilot around the area".

In October, an F/A-18F crashed in Death Valley, resulting in pilot injuries. In 2020, a pilot crashed an F/A-18E in China Lake. In 2019, a pilot died after an F/A-18E crashed in Death Valley during a training flight.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.