2 Navy aviators dead after F/A-18 jet crashes off Key West

(FILE) PACIFIC OCEAN (June 3, 2011) An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 maneuvers over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air power demonstration. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

KEY WEST, Fla. — Two naval aviators have been declared dead after their FA-18 fighter jet crashed off the coast of Key West, Florida, on Wednesday around 4:30 p.m., the US Navy announced on Twitter.

The two-person crew ejected, Navy Cmdr. Mike Kafka said. The Navy added that the jet, which was on a training flight, is part of Strike Fighter Squadron 213, known as the Blacklions.

Rescue crews recovered both aviators from the water, the Navy said in a tweet. They were taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center.

The jet crashed on approach to Naval Air Station Key West, and the cause of the crash is under investigation, according to the tweet.

“We are sad to report that both aviators have been declared deceased,” the Naval Air Forces’ tweet said. “Their families are in our prayers. Per policy, we will withhold notification pending NOK notification.”

President Donald Trump tweeted early Thursday morning, “please join me with your thoughts and prayers for both aviators, their families and our incredible US Navy.”