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The pilot of an F/A-18E Super Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron 143 is taken from a Navy helicopter to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital on Wednesday in Norfolk, Va. The pilot remained in critical condition as of Thursday morning, a Navy spokesman said. (Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)
The F/A-18 pilot who ejected into the ocean 45 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., on Jan. 15 has been upgraded to good condition, a Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman said.
The pilot has been transferred to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth for further treatment, Cmdr. Mike Kafka told Navy Times. He had been listed in critical condition since the crash.
Officials recovered the plane’s black box at the crash site but have not decided whether to recover the wreckage, he said.
The single-seat jet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 143 at Naval Air Station Oceana, was on a training mission Jan. 15 with another aircraft.
The pilot ejected and a life raft deployed, according to a Navy statement. The pilot was initially recovered by a fishing vessel and then picked up by a Navy MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter and flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
Kafka said Jan. 15 that the pilot was conscious while being flown to the hospital, but he gave no other details about the crash or why he was in critical condition. The pilot’s name hasn’t been released.
Strike Fighter Squadron 143, the “Pukin’ Dogs” is part of Carrier Air Wing 7, which returned to Virginia last summer following a deployment aboard the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower to Europe and the Middle East.