The pilot has since been identified as Lieutenant Nathan Poloski, a 26 year old native of Lake Arrowhead, California and 2009 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He had reported to the “Mighty Shrikes” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 94 only 5 months ago.
His commanding officer, Cmdr. Michael Langbehn provided the following comments on the incident:
“Nathan was an outstanding person, naval officer and aviator. My personal thoughts and prayers are for his family, friends and shipmates as they endure this immeasurable loss.”
According to the Navy, the collision occurred during routine flight operations. The other pilot involved in the crash was recovered within an hour of the incident, his medical status was not released by the Navy however media reports indicate he was released from medical care.
The 3,000 square mile search for the missing pilot involved the USS Carl Vinson, guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley, USS Sterett, USS Dewey, helicopters assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73, P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Guam, and satellite imagery.
The cause of the incident remains under investigation.