A U.S. Navy F-18 crashed in the southern California desert Tuesday near a sprawling naval air base as the military launched a search and rescue operation.
Naval Air Forces confirmed the crash on Twitter, but the status of the pilot remains unclear.
The F/A-18E Super Hornet went down at about 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT), Lt. Cmdr. Lydia Bock, public affairs officer for thhe Joint Strike Fighter Wing, said in a written statement.
Bock said search and rescue crews were on the scene of the crash, east of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.
The cause of the incident near Death Valley was under investigation, she said.
The base is roughly 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the U.S.'s second most populous city.