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Search Will Continue For Missing Jet Pilots

Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter continued to search a 40-square-mile area off the Central California coast today for four crewmembers of two Navy fighter-jet planes. The planes collided in flight about 70 miles off the Monterey County coast yesterday.

The F/A-18-F Super Hornet jets from Lemoore Naval Air Station near Fresno were involved in an aerial combat exercise with six other planes. Coast Guard spokeswoman Veronica Bandrowski said the search will be continued until all probability of survival of the four crewmembers has been exhausted.

Officials have not made public the identities of the missing fliers. All four had flown in F-14 Tomcat missions over Afghanistan. They are the first crashes involving the Super Hornets since the Navy put the 57 million-dollar jets in service in 1999.