Two Naval aviators died after their jet crashed Wednesday near Naval Air Station Key West off the coast the Florida Keys, the US Navy said.

Cmdr. Dave Hecht, a spokesman for Naval Air Station Key West, said the F/A-18 Hornet caught fire in the air and then crashed around 4:30 p.m. in shallow waters about one mile from the runway of Boca Chica Field.

Hecht said the pilot and a weapons system officer on board were able to parachute out. Hecht said the aviators were rescued from the water and taken to Lower Keys Medical Center for treatment, where they later died of their injuries.

Barbie Wilson, a local marina owner, witnessed the crash and called 911.

“These jets have been flying all day. I live in the neighborhood and so one was flying over. Then it went a little sideways, then I saw fire, and then it just literally dropped out of the sky,” Wilson said. “It was like something out of a movie.” – Local 10 ABC News


There were reports the aircraft was attempting to return to base on one engine.

Featured image by video screen capture

f-18 crashes key west