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Pilot Killed in California, Two Injured in Texas Chopper Crash

March 29, 1990

CHINA LAKE, Calif. (AP) _ A Navy pilot died when his Korean War-era jet fighter went down in the Mojave Desert Wednesday, and two soldiers were seriously injured in a New Mexico helicopter crash, authorities said.

The single-seat QF-86 Sabre went down about 10:30 a.m. PST between the China Lake Naval Weapons Center range and Death Valley National Monument, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, said base spokeswoman Loretta King. The cause was unknown.

The Navy keeps the 1950s-vintage QF-86 Sabres at China Lake for use as pilotless drones for air-to-air target practice. They also are flown for routine training, King said.

The pilot’s identity was withheld pending notification of relatives.

Two soldiers were injured when an Army OH-58 Kiowa helicopter crashed Wednesday morning about 30 miles northeast of the Texas-New Mexico border, said Fort Bliss, Texas, spokesman Brad Rose.

He had no information on what caused the crash, which occurred as the helicopter was passing over a bombing range in preparation for target practice to make sure no one had wandered onto it.

Injured were 1st Lt. John Vaughn, 27, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Gerhard Turner, 28, Rose said. They were in serious condition at Beaumont Army Medical Center,

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