Marine pilot recovering after jet crash off coast of Baja California

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A Miramar-based Marine who was piloting an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet when it crashed in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico earlier this week was recuperating Friday from broken limbs, hypothermia and other serious injuries.

Capt. Pete Brawn of Albany, Ore., and a weapons system officer, also based at the San Diego installation, spent about four hours in the ocean after their Hornet went down about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Brawn and the weapons system officer, whose identity has not been released, were rescued from the water about 2:30 a.m. Thursday after a Coast Guard cutter crew, sent on a rescue mission, heard the Marines yelling for help, said USCG Petty Officer 2nd Class Henry Dunphy. They were both in stable condition and immediately taken to Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Brawn's aunt, Lauri Kunze, told Brawn's hometown newspaper, the Albany Democrat-Herald, that Brawn broke both his arms and a leg and was suffering from hypothermia. She also said he had serious injuries to his collarbone and shoulders.

“We're relieved that he's OK,” Brawn's grandmother, Paula Brawn, told the newspaper. “We understand that the Coast Guard was surprised to find them alive.”

The men were wearing their flight suits, which were equipped with inflatable life vests, at the time of the crash, according to the Albany Democrat-Herald.

The F/A-18 Hornet is designed for dogfights and attacks on ground targets. It can carry a wide range of ordnance, including air-to-air and air- to-ground missiles.

This week's crash was not the first in recent San Diego history involving an F/A-18 Hornet. In December 2008, a woman, her two young children and mother were killed when a Hornet crashed into their University City home. Last March, the engine on another F/A-18 Hornet exploded and caused a fire aboard the USS John C. Stennis off the coast of San Diego, injuring 11 people on the flight deck.

Categories: KUSI