The Latest: Navy confirms pilot died in California crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the crash of a Navy fighter jet in California (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

The U.S. Navy says it has confirmed the death of the pilot in the crash of a fighter jet in the California desert.

The Navy says in a statement Thursday that the pilot’s identity will be withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin in accordance with Defense Department policy.

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The aircraft belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-151 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California’s Central Valley.

The single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed Wednesday morning in a canyon in Death Valley National Park where military aircraft conduct low-level training.

Seven tourists on the ground were treated for minor injuries.

The Navy says the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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9:30 p.m.

Crews are searching for the pilot of a Navy fighter jet that crashed and exploded in California’s Mojave Desert, injuring seven people on the ground.

Death Valley National Park spokesman Patrick Taylor said seven park visitors had minor injuries.

KABC-TV talked to tourists who said they were treated for minor burns and cuts after being hit by shrapnel.

There’s no word yet on the pilot of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which went down during a Wednesday training mission.

The crash occurred near a park area nicknamed Star Wars Canyon, where fighter jets practice low-flying maneuvers and tourists watch.

The crash area is about 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) north of the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake.

The aircraft was from strike fighter squadron VFA-151 stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California’s Central Valley.

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Associated Press reporters Christopher Weber and John Antczak also contributed to this story.

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