Search for pilot after Navy jet crashes off Key West

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A US Navy F-18 Hornet crashed in the water on the Naval Air Station Key West property late Wednesday afternoon.

Commander Dave Hecht, a spokesman for Naval Air Station Key West, confirmed that the pilot ejected.

ABC News reported that a spokesperson said one pilot ejected but it was "unclear whether the pilot was over land or water".

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.

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Hecht said the pilot and a weapons system officer on board were able parachute to safety.

Photos posted on Twitter show a rescue helicopter hovering over the F-18. I live in the neighborhood and so one was flying over.

"I saw the fire and then it just dropped", said Barbie Wilson, who lives nearby and was driving when she saw the plane turn sideways and then burst into flames.

The jet belonged to VFA-213, a fighter squadron which is based in Oceana, Virginia, near Norfolk.