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USS John C. Stennis accident injures 11

USS John C. Stennis: A mishap on the vessel left eight sailors, one Marine, and two civilians injured during training exercise off California.

In this image provided by the U.S. Navy the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis is shown at sea in the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 14, 2009.

AP/File

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Military officials on Thursday were trying to determine what caused the engine of a fighter jet to fail and catch fire as it prepared to take off from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean.

The mishap left eight sailors, one Marine and two civilians injured aboard the USS John C. Stennis, Naval Air Forces Lt. Aaron V. Kakiel said.

The Navy initially reported 10 sailors were injured.

None of the injuries sustained during the training exercise Wednesday off the California coast was life-threatening.

One of the four sailors airlifted to a Navy hospital in San Diego was released Thursday, and two others could be out by the end of the week, Kakiel said.

The seven other people were treated for non-burn injuries on board the carrier. The pilot was not hurt.

Kakiel said he could not release details on the injuries, citing privacy rights.

The 11 people were working on the flight deck near the F/A-18C Hornet, which sustained at least $1 million in damage during the brief fire, Kakiel said. The ship had no significant damage.

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"The flight deck of an aircraft carrier is an inherently dangerous place, but our personnel are well-trained to operate safely in this environment," Capt. Ronald Reis said in a statement. "They responded quickly, professionally and with purpose, extinguishing the aircraft engine fire."

The Stennis is based in Bremerton, Wash., and was conducting qualification flights for pilots and crews about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego.

The aircraft was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The F/A-18C Hornet, which was used in Operation Desert Storm, is a fighter-attack aircraft that can carry air-to-air missiles and infrared imaging air-to-ground missiles.


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