FA-18F Super Hornet
USA

Seven Injured After US Fighter Jet Crashes In Death Valley

Military officials say the F/A-18E Super Hornet was on a routine training mission when it came down.

FA-18F Super Hornet

A F/A-18E takes off from Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho (Library pcture: US Department of Defense).

A US military fighter jet has crashed in the California desert near a naval air station. 

Military officials say the F/A-18E Super Hornet was on a routine training mission when it came down near Death Valley.

Seven people at a lookout point near the crash site were injured.

A spokeswoman for Naval air station Lemoore in California's Central Valley, Lt Cmdr Lydia Bock, said the pilot's status was unknown.

The jet was from strike fighter squadron VFA-151 stationed at Lemoore.

The Father Crowley Overlook viewpoint, about 160 miles north of Los Angeles, is popular with photographers and aviation enthusiasts who watch jets flying through the steep, narrow chasm, dubbed 'Star Wars Canyon'.

United States Air Force Thunderbirds Death Valley CREDIT DVIDS
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds and Patrouille de France fly together over Death Valley in 2017 (Picture: US Department of Defense).

US and foreign militaries train pilots and test jets in the gorge officially called Rainbow Canyon near the park's western entrance.

Military flights there date back to the Second World War.

The chasm got its nickname because mineral-rich soil and red, grey and pink walls bring to mind the home planet of Star Wars character, Luke Skywalker.

Training flights are almost a daily feature with jets thundering below the rim of the canyon and passing so close viewers can see the pilots' facial expressions.