NAPLES, Italy -- An F-14 jet fighter from the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal crashed in the central Mediterranean Sea, killing the pilot and injuring its radar officer, a U.S. 6th Fleet spokesman said today.
A fleet communique said both officers ejected from the plane Wednesday but the pilot died and the radar intercept officer is 'in good condition.'
Navy officials identified the pilot as Lt. Cmdr. Gary Dobson, 31, of Annapolis, Md., and the radar officer as Lt. j.g. Frank Kara, 25, Grand Junction, Colo. Both were members of Fighter Squadron 31, based at the Oceana Naval Station in Virginia Beach, Va.
The statement by Rear Adm. Warren E. Aut, Fleet Air Mediterranean commander, said the jet crashed Wednesday 'while on a routine training mission from the USS Forrestal.'
'The Forrestal was operating in the central Mediterranean when the accident occurred,' the communique said. The spokesman said fleet regulations prevented him from giving the carrier's location.
The statement said an SH-3 helicopter from the Forrestal picked up the pilot's body and the radar intercept officer from the sea and returned them to the carrier 'about half an hour after the accident happened.'
The Forrestal arrived in the Mediterranean about two weeks ago from its home port at Mayport, Fla., the spokesman said. Other U.S. carriers in the Mediterranean are the USS Enterprise and the USS America, he said.