Two U.S. Navy fighter jets collide over Mediterranean

ROME (AP) — Two U.S. Navy fighter jets collided Thursday over the Mediterranean during routine operations, and one crewman died after ejecting from a jet that crashed.
After the collision, one of the two F-14 Tomcats made it safely back to the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. But the other warplane crashed while flying to Antalya, Turkey, for an emergency landing, said Lt. Greg Geisen, a spokesman for the Navy’s public affairs office in Gaeta, Italy.
The two crew members in the plane that crashed ejected, Geisen said. When a rescue helicopter located the pair, one aviator was unconscious and the other had a serious leg injury.
The unconscious aviator was flown back to the Eisenhower, where medical staff declared him dead.
The surviving crew member was taken to Antalya’s University Hospital, where Dr. Deniz Abidinoglu said the crewman’s left leg was broken. He was in surgery late Thursday.
Navy officials were not releasing the names of the crewmen involved because their families had not been notified.
Both F-14 Tomcats belong to the VF-103 squadron on the Eisenhower, which is based in Norfolk, Va. The F-14s protect the carrier by conducting routine air patrols on a daily basis.
A U.S. Embassy official in Ankara, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a search for the wreckage would begin at daybreak.
The cause of the collision, which occurred shortly after 6 p.m., was under investigation. The carrier was 150 miles southwest of the resort city of Antalya at the time of the accident.
The carrier has been in the Mediterranean for about a month and is scheduled to remain in the region through October. It has 10 F-14s