Entrance to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
The entrance to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Marine Corps photo

Searchers looking for the pilot of a military jet destroyed in a late-night accident in the eastern reaches of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar found the body of the flier Friday.

The East Coast-based F/A-18D Hornet went down for unknown reasons in a remote area east of Interstate 15 and south of Scripps Ranch about 11:55 p.m. Thursday, according to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing public affairs.

Emergency services crews and Coast Guard personnel, about 80 searchers in all, combed a wide area on and around the grounds of the northern San Diego military base in hopes of finding the missing pilot — the only one aboard the aircraft when it crashed — alive.

Late Friday morning, Marine Corps officials reported that the flier’s body had been located.

“With a heavy heart, our condolences go to the Marine’s family during this time,” a 2nd MAW advisory stated.

Per USMC policy, the name of the pilot will be withheld until 24 hours after the notification of the service member’s family.

The fighter jet that crashed was part of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

The F/A-18 Hornet is the nation’s first all-weather fighter and attack aircraft and is considered “the workhorse of Marine Corps tactical aviation,” according to Naval Air Systems Command.

In 2008, a family of four was killed when a disabled Hornet crashed into their University City home about two miles west of MCAS Miramar. The 28- year-old pilot ejected from the aircraft and survived the accident.

–City News Service