Navy identifies pilot presumed dead after 2 jets crash into far western Pacific Ocean


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LEMOORE, California — A Navy fighter pilot presumed dead after two jets crashed in the far western Pacific Ocean was identified Sunday as Lt. Nathan Poloski, a 26-year-old native of Lake Arrowhead, California

Poloski was the subject of a 36-hour search in the waters off the U.S. territory of Wake Island after two F/A-18C Hornets collided in midair Friday. Wake Island is 2,300 miles west of Honolulu.

The other pilot safely ejected, was rescued from the ocean by helicopter and was treated and released from medical facilities aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

The pilots and their squadron were from Carrier Air Wing 17 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California's San Joaquin Valley.

Poloski was a 2009 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

"Nathan was an outstanding person, naval officer and aviator," his squadron's Cmdr. Michael Langbehn said in a statement. "My personal thoughts and prayers are for his family, friends and shipmates as they endure this immeasurable loss."

Calls to Poloski's parents went unanswered on Sunday.

The Navy said a memorial service for him will be held on board the USS Carl Vinson.

The cause of the collision was under investigation.

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