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U.S. Navy identifies pilot presumed dead in Pacific Ocean crash

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[September 15, 2014]  (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy on Sunday identified a fighter jet pilot who is presumed dead following a mid-air collision with another jet over the western Pacific Ocean.

The missing pilot is Lieutenant Nathan Poloski, 26, of Lake Arrowhead, Calif., a 2009 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, the Navy said in a statement.

Poloski went missing Friday after two F/A-18 Hornet jets collided west of Wake Island, about 2,300 miles (3,700 km) west of Hawaii. The Navy conducted a 36-hour search over 3,000 square miles for the pilot and his aircraft but called off the search on Saturday, saying Poloski was thought to be dead.

"Nathan was an outstanding person, naval officer and aviator," said Commander Michael Langbehn.

The other pilot involved in the collision was rescued on Friday and was treated aboard the USS Carl Vinson and has since been released, according to the Navy.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle; Editing by Carey Gillam and Cynthia Osterman)

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