Navy F/A-18E fighter jet crashes in Death Valley, California

INYO COUNTY, California -- A single-seat U.S. Navy fighter jet crashed Wednesday morning in Inyo County and the pilot's status was unknown, officials confirmed.

A search-and-rescue helicopter was dispatched to the scene from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake about 10 a.m., according to Commander Ron Flanders, a spokesman for U.S. Naval Air Forces.

There are reports that visitors at the park have suffered minor injuries, a spokesperson for Death Valley National Park said.

According to KNTV, initial reports indicated the Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet went down on the west side of Death Valley National Park, near the Father Crowley Overlook, which has been temporarily closed.

The overlook is an area informally known as "Star Wars Canyon," which has been used for military training flights since the 1930s, said Patrick Taylor, a spokesperson for the park.

The location regularly attracts tourists eager to watch military pilots make their way through the narrow canyon in maneuvers that evoke the "Star Wars" films.
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