Fighter jet pilot missing after Nevada crash

The military pilot of a U.S. Marine Corps fighter jet that crashed in the rugged mountains of northeast Nevada is missing and rescue crews say the aircraft is a total loss.

The F/A-18C Hornet was being loaned to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center and based out of the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nev. It crashed during a training exercise about 70 miles east of the base on the Fallon Range Training Complex at about 3 p.m. on Saturday, but U.S. Navy officials did not publicly announce the crash until 9 p.m.

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It took Navy and Lander County Sheriff’s Office rescue crews several hours to reach the crash site, according to a statement released by the U.S. Navy, because a snowstorm hit the region overnight.

In addition, the crash site is located in a remote region within the training complex, a mountainous area of desert that’s difficult for crews and even helicopters to get to, Navy spokeswoman Reagan Lauritzen told the Los Angeles Times.

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Navy officials have not identified the pilot. Their name will be withheld until 24 hours after the next of kin have been notified.

No weapons or munitions were on the aircraft during the flight and there was no damage to property or other persons during the crash, the statement said.

The Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, known as “Top Gun,” uses the area for training exercises.

The Hornet is an attack fighter jet designed by McDonnell Douglas. Each jet costs about $29 million, according the Navy’s website.

A statement released by officials on Saturday night misidentified the aircraft as belonging to the Navy.

nhensley@nydailynews.com

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