The pilot apparently died when a military plane went down Wednesday north of Point Mugu in a crash that was similar to one that occurred two years earlier.
The Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Mike Lindbery said there was one confirmed fatality in the one-seat plane’s crash, which was reported at 5:13 p.m. in an agricultural field near East Hueneme Road and the Pacific Coast Highway. Lindbery said the body was found in the debris field.
Heavy black smoke was visible until about 5:38 p.m., when the flames had been extinguished. Smoke continued to drift to the northeast after the flames were out, and a sheriff’s helicopter hovered over the scene.
According to the tail number of the plane, it was a Hawker Hunter, a single-seat fighter/ground attack monoplane developed in the 1950s of a model that’s crashed in the area before. The pilot of Hawker Hunter died on May 18, 2012, when the plane crashed in an agricultural field on its return to Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu.
The plane that crashed in 2012 belonged to Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., a contractor for Naval Base Ventura County. A spokeswoman for the base said it was possible the plane crashed Wednesday was an Airborne Tactical Advantage Co. plane, as well.
The 2012 crash occurred exactly one year after a civilian air tanker caught fire and crashed during takeoff from Naval Base Ventura County. The Boeing 707 was on its way to serve as an airborne refueling station for a training exercise when its engine caught fire during takeoff. Only minor injuries were reported.
Before the 2012 crash, the most recent fatal crash involving the base had occurred on April 20, 2002, when a Navy QF-4 Phantom II jet crashed during a landing maneuver at the Point Mugu Air Show, killing its two crew members. No one on the ground was injured in that crash.
Traffic was starting to back up in the area just before 6 p.m. as onlookers slowed to look at Wednesday’s crash, which appeared to have occurred in a strawberry field covered with plastic sheeting. However, few people could get close to the site, which was well cordoned off.
This story will be updated.