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Navy fighter jet crashes in Death Valley National Park

An F/A-18D Hornet flying out of Star Wars Canyon in Death Valley National Park, Calif. Associated Press/Photo by Ben Margot (file)

Navy fighter jet crashes in Death Valley National Park

Search and rescue crews continue looking for the pilot of a U.S. Navy fighter jet that crashed Wednesday morning in Death Valley National Park in California. The crash injured seven people who were watching the F/A-18 Super Hornet from a scenic overlook. The jet was on a routine mission when it slammed into a canyon wall.

Why was the jet flying there? U.S. and foreign militaries use the park’s Rainbow Canyon for tests and training, and aviation enthusiasts often come to watch jets fly through the steep, narrow gorge. It’s the only national park military jets are allowed to fly over. It’s nicknamed “Star Wars Canyon” for its red, gray, and pink walls that remind people of the colors of the home planet of the movie series’ Luke Skywalker character.

Dig deeper: Read the Los Angeles Timesreport on training and aviation photography in the park.

Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.


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