SAN DIEGO - A jet fighter's engine exploded and caught fire Wednesday as it prepared to take off from an aircraft carrier off California, injuring 10 sailors, the military said.
The F/A-18C Hornet was starting a training exercise when the accident occurred about 2:50 p.m. on the flight deck of the USS John C. Stennis, according to Cmdr. Pauline Storum.
Four sailors were flown to Naval Medical Center San Diego where they were in stable condition. The six others were treated for burn injuries on board the carrier. None of the injuries was life threatening, Storum said.
The pilot was not hurt.
The fire was quickly extinguished, and there was no significant damage to the ship, Storum said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Storum said the Hornet sustained at least a million dollars' worth of damage.
The Stennis is based in Bremerton, Wash., and was conducting qualification flights for pilots and crews about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego at the time of the mishap.
A Navy official designated in a news release as the contact for the story did not answer calls for further comment.
The aircraft was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
The F/A-18C Hornet, which was used in Operation Desert Storm, is a fighter-attack aircraft that can carry air-to-air missiles and infrared imaging air-to-ground missiles.