Eleven injured aboard USS John C. Stennis near San Diego

Eleven sailors aboard the USS John C. Stennis were injured March 30 when a fire caused by the engine explosion of a fighter jet broke out. Four of the injured aboard the Bremerton-based aircraft carrier were flown to a Navy hospital in San Diego for treatment. The cause of the explosion is unknown.

The F/A-18 C Hornet, a Marine Corps jet, was within 10 seconds of being launched when the starboard engine exploded, Stennis commander Capt. Ronald Reis said March 31 during a conference call. Parts from the engine shot out and smoke billowed when the fire started.

The carrier is now back in Bremerton.

Reis said the fire did not spread beyond the flight deck and the pilot was not injured nor was the ship damaged. At the time of the explosion, there were about 80 aircraft on the ship and four airbourne, he said.

Flight operations resumed the day after the incident. There was about $1 million in damage to the plane, Reis said, who took command of the ship on March 18.

The Marine Corps will conduct investigations that will take between three to six months to determine what caused the engine’s failure and the likelihood that it could happen again, Reis said.

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