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Navy F/A-18 jet crashes off Key West, official says

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet jet crashed off the coast of Key West, Florida, on Wednesday, an official told Fox News.

Both pilots were ejected from the twin-engine jet, and search and rescue efforts are under way.

A marina owner in the Florida Keys told WPLG that the Hornet jet caught fire mid-air, then crashed roughly one mile from the runway of Naval Air Station Key West.

President Trump during a roundtable at Boeing on Wednesday called the F/A-18 a work of “art,” and said that he’s working with Congress to fund 24 new jets.

The jet was from the VFA-213 Blacklions squadron. Last year, the same squadron deployed aboard USS George H.W. Bush to conduct ISIS strikes in Iraq and Syria. 

Earlier this month, an F/A-18 from the squadron performed a rare nighttime flyover in Annapolis, Maryland, ahead of a Capitals versus Maple Leafs outdoor NHL hockey game played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

In November, the head of Naval Aviation told Congress that only half the Navy’s 542 F-18 Super Hornet jets can fly right now and only 31 percent are fully mission capable and ready to “fight tonight.”

This is a developing story; please check back for updates.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Kelly Chernenkoff contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

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