ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — When an in-flight mishap involving two F/A-18F Super Hornets happened off the coast of Cape Hatteras Thursday morning, some nearby U.S. Coast Guard members “jumped into action.”
An HC-130J Hercules and two MH-60T Jayhawks responded from Air Station Elizabeth City.
10 On Your Side’s Liz Palka spoke with one of the Jayhawk pilots who was part of the crew that rescued two aviators from a fishing boat.
“There was a lot going on,” Lt. Wryan Webb said. “It was very busy. It was kind of a matter of focusing in on what we needed to do and working together with everyone else that was already there.”
Lt. Webb said he thought the Naval aviators were doing well after they were rescued.
“I can’t imagine what’s it like to eject out of an aircraft, but… I would imagine it would be a very traumatic experience.”
Lt. Tod Storie also spoke with 10 On Your Side about the rescue. He said he and his crew were about to start a training mission when they got a call about the mishap.
“We spotted a debris field first. Shortly thereafter, probably just a couple of minutes after, we spotted the debris field, we were able to spot two pilots in rafts,” Lt. Storie said. “We dropped down and delivered a flare near them.”
“In the process of doing that, the other two pilots — who were about two to three miles away, something like that — and they popped smoke.”
The Coast Guard directed a nearby fishing boat toward the other two pilots. The fishing boat took aboard the two pilots before they were transferred to another Coast Guard small boat. From there, the aviators were hoisted into the helicopter.
Watch the full interviews with Lt. Webb and Lt. Storie below:
The Coast Guard crew says they had just trained with the Navy on Wednesday for ejection situations similar to Thursday’s mishap.
In all, 20 Coast Guard members responded to the crash in the air. Even more Coast Guardsmen were helping on the water and on land.
All four of the pilots have minor injuries and are reportedly in high spirits.