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Wreckage of U.S. Jets Found in Iraq

May 4, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Investigators in Iraq have located the wreckage of both Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets that were reported missing earlier this week, but they have yet to find the second pilot, an official said Wednesday.

Pentagon officials had said Tuesday that one fuselage had been found about 15 miles from Karbala in south-central Iraq, and that the pilot was found still strapped in his ejection seat some distance from the wreckage.

``Both fuselages have been found,″ a military officer said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still underway. The officer said the fuselages were found at separate locations but the officer did not know the distance of separation.

Officials had said previously that investigators concluded that the two planes likely collided in the air.

U.S. officials in Baghdad said the search was continuing.

The F/A-18s were flying at an altitude of about 30,000 feet when communications with the pilots were lost, one official said.

There was one pilot in each of the single-seat jets, which had launched from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on Monday. They were reported missing by U.S. military authorities Monday evening.

The U.S. military said there was no indication of hostile fire in the area when contact was lost with the two planes.

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